Sparks of Magic

Kids

Spring Break at Dillon Beach, CA

Travel, FamilyCamilleComment

Spring break has come and gone. 

We spent our family vacation in Dillon Beach on Bodega Bay, CA with my husband's family. Every year, they rent a home that sits midway up the mountain of Oceana Drive. IT IS GORGEOUS. 

This quaint little beach town is about 30 minutes west of Petaluma, CA but approximately two hours from us (Lodi). As a SoCal girl, the first thing I will tell you is that this is a cold beach. I usually pitch a fuss about having to wear a jacket on the shore. I know, such a baby. However, our kids love it though and somehow manage to still dip their toes (or depending on which kid) or whole body into the freezing water. 

Some of the fun things they enjoy include digging holes, hiking up the mountain, and rolling down the massive sand dune. 

If you plan a trip to Dillon Beach you should know a few things:

It was amazing time spent just revelling in the beauty of the coast and closeness of our loved ones. We are forever grateful for the memories we get to make with our babies, and that they get to grow up appreciating these moments of family, creation and fun.

Pictures say a thousand words, so I will leave you with Jeff's amazing visuals.

Other sights & experiences in the area:

What are some of your favorite spring break excursions?

Magic Moments: Travel Planning Fun with Get Away Today!

Travel, Family, EntertainmentCamilleComment

I'm extremely excited to announce that I am a partner with Get Away Today travel! When Jeff and I only had 2 girls, we booked vacations through Get Away Today, and as our family grew, family travel took the back burner. It is unfortunate, as traveling is really fun, especially with kids! Thankfully we've hit the road quite a few times since, and are looking to expand our travel borders in the near future.

I used to want to be a travel agent, my mom worked for a travel agency when I was younger, and it was always fun to go visit her at her office and see all the images of tropical locations and scenery on the walls. I never really paid attention to what she actually did, it was just fun to visit and dream of being in one of those exotic places as I waited for her to get off work.

Fast forward to today, Jeff and I have five kids of our own and we are learning that "organized travel" is extremely important. When I say "organized" I mean, planned, and plotted, making sure we stretch every dollar and get bang for our bucks. We used to lean towards spontaneous, as in "let's go next month" type of travel, and that can get expensive and is somewhat stressful. As our income has always fluctuated, it has been challenging to really save for anything, let alone a full blown family trip with bells and whistles! When doing spontaneous travel, a family vacation was never long enough, lasting only 2 -3 days in southern CA with the kids to visit family and sometimes Disneyland (our happy place). 

About Get Away Today

Get Away Today takes the guesswork out of booking a full vacation package. They have awesome benefits, like a layaway plan and Peace of Mind travel insurance, which is a plus when you're really saving towards a family vacation. The downpayment for travel is $125, which includes a nonrefundable $50 layaway fee. The trip needs to be paid in full within two weeks of travel (many other sites require it from 30-45 days prior). 

When I became a partner with Get Away Today, I was so excited to finally get back to booking and saving. Our family will get to experience more travel in the near future, especially as I am have embarked on a new journey in my career, so saving is a little easier. Work hard, play hard, right?!

Hurry, this offer ends 6/26/16 for travel through December 31, 2016.

Hurry, this offer ends 6/26/16 for travel through December 31, 2016.

Book with Get Away Today

So what does this mean for you, my readers, family and friends? Well, if you choose to book through Get Away Today Vacations, you will receive a $10 credit towards any 2 night stay (use code "SPARKS" when booking) and I will earn a small commission for referring you. Stay tuned for special offers throughout the year, like Adults pay Kids Price at Disneyland, which is going on until June 26, 2016. I'll keep you updated and look forward to hearing your travel stories, too!

We just booked our Fall vacation and cannot wait to share our experience with you!

Another First Day.

Thoughts, FamilyCamilleComment

It's barely 9 am and today has already been emotional. 

No, we didn't have any fights or frustrations; this morning went very well. If you have kids, you know that what might seem as a simple act of walking out the door, ON TIME, with kids in tow, really is an accomplishment. 

With our five kids, someone is bound to be in tears over the last bowl of cereal being eaten, forgetting to put their shirt in the dryer, or fighting over the bathroom, hair brushes, or socks!

I know that as the nervousness of a new environment fades, and they become more comfortable with their new school schedule, we might see a more typical morning at home – madness. Ha ha!

I loved seeing them walk together, help each other find things so they weren't late, and I'm grateful to have been here with them this morning to not only witness the angelic behavior, but to love on them and usher them into their newest journey.

I began the school drop offs at 7 am and was home by 8:15 am. Three schools later, and hugs with my five babies, I went back to my car with a sense of relief. I have been counting down to them going back to school, tired of hearing the "I'm boooooored" chant for days on end. But, even after all of that, in that moment alone, as I began to drive away, I let out a huge sigh and began to cry.

Talk about emo. :)

Today is a day of firsts; we now have a freshman in high school. We also have two 7th graders, and both of our boys are now "uppers" at the elementary school. As we move forward in life, we always have firsts and I want them to know it's okay to be nervous, but they should be excited to learn new things, grow in new ways and experience life with a new perspective.

It's so weird hearing my 7th grade baby girl  talk about her extracurricular activities for her college applications; she wants to go to Stanford or UCLA, so she's diving in and signing up for Science Olympiad and deciding what else she will pursue. Sometimes I want to say "STOP GROWING UP!" But, I know, this isn't Neverland.

I guess to keep it short and sweet, I am making it a point to remind myself that they will grow up. But as they do, I will keep stashing these memories like today away. When I'm feeling frustrated or stressed, I will pull these memories out and remember that I am not promised to have them tomorrow, and pretty soon, I will have my last "first" with them.

Have your kids gone back to school? Please tell me I am not the only crying mother. :) 

LeapFrog and ClifKid Fit Made Fun Party

EntertainmentCamilleComment
FitMadeFun-SparksofMagic.jpg

Do you want a fun way to get the kids wiggling and giggling, moving and grooving, and ready to crash at bedtime? Get a LeapBand! It's a great mixture of technology and physical activity.

We had the awesome privilege of hosting a #FitMadeFun party, thanks to sponsors LeapFrog and ClifKid, on September 6th!

This MommyParty was sponsored by LeapFrog, in conjunction with ClifKid; the Fit Made Fun event was a virtual extension of a full day event in Santa Monica, CA, hosted by Mia Hamm. 

The goal? To break the Guinness World Record in various activities involving movement and a lot of kids! I am so excited to say that Mia Hamm and 300 kids and parents are now world record holders! How cool is that?!

For those of us that were unable to attend, we hosted virtual parties throughout the US. The weather was nice and warm out, kids kept hydrated with a lot of water, and enjoyed breaks under the cool trees at the park. 

The LeapBand

My boys setting up their new pets!

My boys setting up their new pets!

This nifty little activity tracker keeps your kids moving and interacts with them as they play. My favorite feature? The ability to set it in quiet mode. My boys can wear them to school (check with your school rules first) but have them in quiet mode. This only gives them access to seeing the time, which is educational. Once the time hits 2:30 pm on a school day, their playful pet awakens and they can get back to playing!

My only real qualm? The volume. If you have just one child, you don't really have the problem of hearing over siblings, but when there are five of them excited to play with the LeapBand, it is really hard to hear the little guy give them activity instructions.

Other than that, this toy rocks! The boys enjoy collecting the virtual prizes (joules) and since we were given two LeapBands, they are in competition, naturally, to see who can do the most activity!

ClifKid Protein Z Bars

We've always been fans of the CLIF Kid bars. The newest protein bar is thicker than the original CLIF Kid Z Bars. The flavors we received were Chocolate Chip, Chocolate Mint, and Peanut Butter. Did you know that the CLIF Kid Protein Bars contain 70% organic ingredients? Not to mention the yummy factor. They are amazing. We used the chocolate chip bars as granola crumble on top of Greek yogurt, some strawberries, and blueberries.

ClifKid-granola-SparksofMagic.jpg

THE PARTY

We invited cousins and friends to our party and we ended up with 11 participants total! While the LeapBand is geared towards ages 4-7, I can honestly say that it is perfect for kids of all ages. We had guests ranging from 3-12! It really is about letting them use their imagination and enjoy being kids! 

I bought some oversized dice from the $1 store and sent a pair home with each family to do some fun activities at home! 

Shaking up their dice to roll how many repetitions of any chosen activity is picked.

Shaking up their dice to roll how many repetitions of any chosen activity is picked.

How many StarJumps??

How many StarJumps??

We have a winner! J won the healthy habits hunt!

We have a winner! J won the healthy habits hunt!

Here's a fun video from our sponsor, LeapFrog! The LeapBand comes in 3 colors, blue, green, and PINK! The kids had a lot of fun and I can see them getting in many days of activities and burning energy with these LeapBands!

xo {Spread Magic}

CD

Disclosure: I received LeapBands and ClifKid ClifBars in order to host this #fitmadefun party and product review. No monetary compensation was given. All opinions are my own.


Be Careful What You Wish For

Disney, EntertainmentCamilleComment

Starring Meryl Streep, Emily Blunt, James Corden, Anna Kendrick and Chris Pine, “Into the Woods” is a humorous and heartfelt musical that follows the classic tales of Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Jack and the Beanstalk, and Rapunzel—all tied together by an original story involving a baker and his wife, their wish to begin a family and their interaction with the witch who has put a curse on them.

Awesome Guardians of the Galaxy Movie Trailer in LEGO!

EntertainmentCamilleComment

So we know that everything is AWESOME with LEGO, but have you seen the Guardians in LEGO form??

Check out this cool movie trailer ... I wonder how long it took to film this?! 

Directed by Forrest Whaley
Animation by Sean Willets & Forrest Whaley 

Just 2 more days until the summer blockbuster hits theaters!

Like GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY on Facebook: www.facebook.com/guardiansofthegalaxy

Follow GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY on Twitter: https://twitter.com/Guardians

xo, Spread Magic!

Check Out Big Hero 6!

EntertainmentCamilleComment

With all the heart and humor audiences expect from Walt Disney Animation Studios, “Big Hero 6” is an action-packed comedy-adventure about robotics prodigy Hiro Hamada (voice of Ryan Potter), who’s catapulted into the midst of a dangerous plot and must transform his closest companion—a robot named Baymax (voice of Scott Adsit)—and a diverse group of friends into a band of high-tech heroes.