Rockin Mama™ Motherhood, Giveaways and Product Reviews Fri, 06 Dec 2019 13:10:29 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Rockin Mama™ 32 32 111966601 7 Instagram-Worthy Spots for Your Holiday Photo at Knott’s Fri, 06 Dec 2019 13:06:34 +0000 It’s the merriest time of year at Knott’s Berry Farm and one of our favorite places to make memories during the holidays. One of the many reasons I love Merry Farm is the fact that so much of what I love about Christmas is represented at the park. A beautiful Christmas tree in the center of Calico park is lit each night during their tree lighting ceremony, Santa takes residence inside Santa’s Christmas Cabin for families to take photos and for kids to share their wishes, and each night, Ghost Town shines bright with thousands of sparkling lights as snow falls to the sound of Christmas music. The park is gorgeous this time of year, and sets the stage for some memorable photo opps. As you prepare for your visit, be sure to check out these 7 Instagram-worthy spots for your holiday photo.

Holiday Photo Wreath Livery Stable Knotts

Instagram-Worthy Spots for Your Holiday Photo

Christmas Tree at Calico Park: This is the iconic Christmas card photo and the tree makes for a gorgeous, festive backdrop. If you have a skilled photographer, try getting a nighttime shot when the tree is aglow!

Ghost Town: Stroll through Calico and you’ll find beautiful, rustic walls and abundant holiday decor. Two of my favorite spots include the Wreath in front of the stable and the buildings adorned with garland.

Indian Trails Stage: Photographer Hailey Williams at Archer Inspired chose this spot with its interesting and varied wall textures and it is actually one of my favorite shots.

Snow and Glow: Twice nightly, Ghost Town, including Main Street and the School House Road, light up with thousands of sparkling lights and a gentle snowfall, making for the perfect winter photo.

Boardwalk: The vibrant colors combined with the winter decor accents, particularly at night, make for some beautiful photo backdrops.

Camp Snoopy: Head to the bridges for some gorgeous, nature-inspired backdrops.

Santa’s Christmas Cabin: If you didn’t take a photo with Santa is it even Christmas? : ) While the number of Santa photo spots abound here in Orange County, this particular backdrop makes for a lovely, traditional holiday photo that is Christmas-card and Instagram-worthy.

Did I miss a spot you love? Let me know!

And don’t forget that you can take ‘old-time’ Western photos at Knott’s Pitchur Gallery. Plus, Knott’s photographers are positioned around the park for great shots you can purchase through FunPix.

For more information about Merry Farm, visit

Images: Archer Inspired.

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The Festival Ballet Theatre Presents The Nutcracker Wed, 04 Dec 2019 02:00:12 +0000 I saw The Nutcracker as a young girl one holiday season, thus launching my short stint into ballet and my love for performing arts. While Tchaikovsky’s ballet is performed by countless companies across the globe, the production at the Irvine Barclay Theatre is unique in that it offers an experience for the entire family.

Consideration provided by the Irvine Barclay Theatre.

Beckanne Sisk and Chase O Connell as Sugar Plum and Cavalier

The Nutcracker

Inspired by E.T.A. Hoffmann’s story, The Nutcracker and the Mouse King, Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker was not initially a success. But his 20-minute “suite” extracted from the ballet was what ultimately led to its success.

The Nutcracker tells the story of a girl named Clara, who befriends a nutcracker that comes to life on Christmas Eve and wages a battle against the evil Mouse King.

Clara and Drosselmeyer

Festival Ballet Theatre

This will be our first visit to the Festival Ballet Theatre, and I am excited to introduce my daughter to this beautiful, iconic, holiday classic.

The Festival Ballet Theatre is a nonprofit organization founded in 1988 by Salwa Rizkalla. The mission of the theatre is to enrich Orange County’s artistic and economic vitality, to inspire love and appreciation for dance, and to invigorate ballet.

Throughout the season, the theatre presents classical and contemporary performances and offers stimulating educational outreach programs.

Maria Kochetokova and Vitor Luiz

The Nutcracker at the Festival Ballet Theatre

The Nutcracker will perform December 7-24, 2019 in a breathtaking production featuring colorful scenery and dazzling costumes. The production is set to Tchaikovsky’s traditional, iconic score and features world-renowned guest artists, FBT’s professional company dancers, exceptional young talent from across the Southland, and a cast of more than 200 Southern California children. The production is family friendly and perfect for children of all ages.

Be swept away by Tchaikovsky’s iconic score as the Sugar Plum Fairy, our heroine Clara, and a cast of hundreds take you on a magical journey to mystical lands.

The Nutcracker will perform at the Irvine Barclay Theatre which is located at the follow address:

4242 Campus Drive, Irvine, CA 92612

For additional information, visit

Mouse King in The Nutcracker

Pre-Show Nutcracker Tea Party

Prior to select performances of The Nutcracker, guests will enjoy tea, lemonade, finger sandwiches and sweet treats with Clara, including champagne for the grown-ups. Clara will join in as the story of the Nutcracker ballet and the magical adventure is told. Expect a special appearance by the Nutcracker Prince and his archenemy, the Mouse King, too! Photo opportunities and a party favor for each guest included. The elegant sit-down tea will be prepared by Chef Laurent of White House Catering. The tea party will be held at Barclay’s Jade Room.

The cost is an additional $30 for adults and seniors and an additional $25 for students and children under 21.

Saturday, December 7, 2019 @ 7:00 pm (PARTY START TIME: 6PM)
Sunday, December 8, 2019 @ 1:00 (PARTY START TIME: 12PM)
Saturday, December 14, 2019 @ 2:00 and 7:00 pm (PARTY START TIME: 1PM & 6PM)
Sunday, December 15, 2019 @ 1:00 and 6:00 pm (PARTY START TIME: 12PM & 5PM)
Saturday, December 21, 2019 @ 2:00 and 7:00 pm (PARTY START TIME: 1PM & 6PM)
Sunday, December 22, 2019 @ 1:00 and 6:00 pm (PARTY START TIME: 12PM & 5PM)
Monday, December 23, 2019 @ 6:00 pm (PARTY START TIME: 5PM)
Tuesday, December 24, 2019 @ 11am (PARTY START TIME: 10am)

For more information or to purchase tickets, visit

Nutcracker at the Irvine Barclay Theatre
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Best Places To Take Photos With Santa In Southern California Wed, 04 Dec 2019 00:54:24 +0000 Photos with Santa are a big part of our family’s Christmas tradition. My son is anxiously awaiting Snowflake’s return (aka Elf on the Shelf) and my daughter is brainstorming recipes for Christmas Eve cookies. At 6 and 9, my kids still get wide-eyed with hope and joy during Christmas. This season, we’ll spend lots of time in the kitchen whipping up our favorite dishes, enjoying all of the Christmas celebrations in our city, revisiting the real meaning of Christmas and watching our favorite holiday movies. All of those are great but the big winner around here is photos with Santa.

Photos with Santa

Every year since my children were babies, we’ve set aside an afternoon for a visit with Santa. Sometimes the location has been our local mall…other times we’ve trekked all the way to the North Pole!  With so many places to see Old Saint Nick, I thought I’d share my favorite spots for photos with Santa.

Santa Photos

Best Places to Take Photos With Santa

Santa HQ - Photos with Santa

  • Santa HQ by HGTV: Santa’s workshop has gone digital, and this interactive experience begins with a “scan” to see if you’ve been naughty or nice. Kids can then enter the observatory where they can see Santa’s magical world, including the night sky and the elves at work using a special tablet. Be sure to take an Elfie before meeting with Santa.
  • Adventure to Santa: Go on a brand new adventure with Po from Kung Fu Panda to meet Santa Claus this season. This experience, which occurs at select DreamWorks DreamPlace locations across the country, features interactive games, a cinematic journey to the North Pole and a private meeting with Santa.

Christmas 2011 - Photos with Santa

  • Simon Malls: Experience the magical world of Santa with a brand new set at Ontario Mills. This season, children will enter the World of Wishes where they will be greeted by Nutcracker figures and festive trees. The experience also features holiday cheer throughout the center with new garland arrangements and holiday trees. After a visit and a photos with Santa, children can celebrate the release of The Secret Life of Pets on Blu-ray/DVD with activity sheets, a holiday headband and clips from the film. And through Simon’s The Joy of Giving program, Guest Services will provide treats to shoppers through Random Acts of Giving.
  • Knott’s Merry Farm: This year, you’ll find Santa at Santa’s Christmas Cabin. Share your wish list, take a photo, then enjoy gourmet treats including fresh, poured-to-order maple lollipops, homemade holiday churros, Santa’s Milk and Cookie Shakes and more.

Photos with Santa

  • Disneyland: Join Santa and his elves for an exciting outdoor adventure where you’ll discover decorations and toys to find out what type of elf you are. You can find Santa AND Santa Goofy at Ahwahnee Camp Circle near the entrance of Redwood Creek Challenge Trail.
  • Universal CityWalk: Join Santa Claus at the 5 Towers for photo opportunities each night during the Holiday Season. You’ll also want to stay for the lighting of the 40-foot tall Christmas tree adorned with 200,000 LED icicles choreographed to the lights and sounds of the season.

LEGO Santa - Photos with Santa

  • LEGOLAND California Resort: Meet LEGO Santa and his reindeer in front of the LEGO Christmas Tree at LEGOLAND. Once you’ve gotten your photos with Santa, be sure to watch the nightly tree lighting.

Photos With Santa

  • Irvine Park Railroad: Take a magical ride through Irvine Regional Park on the Christmas Train to visit Santa and Mrs. Claus at the North Pole. Share your wish list, take a photo, and enjoy treats before heading back to Santa’s Village through the Tunnel of Lights.

Santa Hugs - Photos with Santa

  • Catal Restaurant at Downtown Disney: Join Santa and his elves for a festive, family-style breakfast featuring a hot cocoa station, carolers, activities, a photo and meet ‘n greet with Santa, and more.
  • Chill at The Queen Mary: Join Santa for story-time, cookie-decorating, music, and more during Breakfast With Santa. After enjoying a festive breakfast, meet Santa, Mrs. Claus, Ginny Gingerbread, Miss Kandi Kayne, Captain Teddy and the CHILL family for photos.
  • Winter Wonderfest at Discovery Cube: After learning about the science behind sledding and sliding down the 75 foot long ramp on an inner tube, take photos with Santa at the Discovery Cube during Winter Wonderfest. Don’t miss the Annual Science of Gingerbread, cookie decorating, snow play and A Matter of Taste stage show.
  • Winterfest: Once again, the OC Fair & Event Center will transform into a winder wonderland complete with ice skating, crafts at Santa’s Workshop, largest rocking horse, and nightly snowfall. Don’t miss taking a photo with Santa at his workshop before he heads back to the North Pole.
  • Pretend City: Members can enjoy an exclusive breakfast with Ol’ Saint Nick at Pretend City Children’s Museum 3 different times this holiday season. After enjoying a continental breakfast, kids can enjoy holiday crafts, music and a meet and greet/photos with Santa.
  • Fashion Island: Santa makes his debut at Fashion Island on November 18th during the center’s annual Tree Lighting Ceremony. Visit Santa, share your wishes and take a photos with Santa inside his custom-designed house through December 24th.
  • South Coast Plaza: Visit Santa’s Village, located at Carousel Court this holiday season for crafts and activities. Kids can also take Santa’s Express Train for free after taking and purchasing a photo with Santa. Don’t miss the Reindeer Carousel and the carolers spreading joy this holiday season.
  • Dana Point Harbor: In true Southern California style, families can take a boat ride with Santa and his helpers. Tell him your wishes and take a photo. You can also visit Santa with your pet throughout the Harbor. Be sure to enjoy all of the Harbor’s festivities including the annual Boat Parade of Lights.

What is your favorite place to see Santa?  Let us know if we’ve missed one and we’ll add it to the list.


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7 Things You Must Do at Winter Fest OC – Giveaway Mon, 02 Dec 2019 19:00:36 +0000 Christmas in Southern California is nothing short of magic. From Gingerbread House Workshops to the Merriest events at our favorite theme parks, the only thing missing is a dusting of snow and all of the wonderful things we associate with winter! Winter Fest OC returns to Southern California with brand new holiday experiences for the whole family. Be sure to scroll down to enter our amazing giveaway which includes general admission for 10 guests, plus a private Rink-Side VIP Cabana for one rental session (based on availability). (a $320 value)!!

The Hangar Winter Fest OC

Winter Fest OC 2019

Once again, Winter Fest will immerse guests in a Winter Wonderland at the OC Fair & Event Center December 19, 2019 – January 5, 2020. The fairgrounds combination of indoor and outdoor spaces makes it the ideal location for bringing a sprinkling of winter magic to Southern California. With so much to see and do, I’ve put together 7 Things You Must Do at Winter Fest OC.

New for 2019

Many of your favorite experiences from Winter Fest OC 2018 have returned. Additionally, the event features 5 brand new, must-see experiences.

  • SoCal Dicken’s Village: Families can stroll through the 1800’s with holidays past, present, and future. This experience features Cookie decorating, holiday storytelling, a visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus (through Christmas Eve), pony rides, and shopping through the new Victorian holiday shops. Included, although some experiences may require a fee.
  • Yowie’s Sweet Shoppe: This brand new interactive selfie experience also includes gingerbread making, the world’s largest traveling candy maze, and a sweet market experience where families can enjoy classic winter treats from local vendors. Also featured is a brand new gingerbread private party space. 
  • Ice Skating Trail: Enjoy skating under the stars in the center of a winter wonderland on the redesigned ice rink trail with two interactive islands, surrounded by winter décor and lights and adjacent to the new 50-foot Tree of Dreams Christmas tree.
  • Alpine Village: Alpine Village includes Penny’s Snow Play and slide area that is double the size with fresh snow blown in daily! Alpine Village also features Festival of Lights, a brilliantly illuminated pathway that you can walk through to explore holiday themed lands with animated displays and more than two million lights. For additional fun, make sure to ride through the Festival of Lights on one of two trackless trains.
  • Entertainment: Every day, families can enjoy live entertainment, community acts and more. Daily entertainment includes live cartoon character shows with meet & greets (Thomas the Train, Paw Patrol, PJ Mask, Peppa Pig, Octonauts and much more), magic shows by the infamous Jimmy H., plus the all new Winter Fest After Dark entertainment starting nightly at 6pm with Southern California’s most popular tribute bands in the Hangar Building and dancing into the night with a live band, DJ and libations at the infamous Hussong’s Cantina. 
Festival of Lights Winter Fest OC
WinterFest OC Giant Ornament

7 Things You Must Do at Winter Fest OC

Ice Slide at Winter Fest OC
  • Take a ride on the Ice Tube Slide. Featuring 8 lanes and a 150 foot ice slide, this exciting experience at Snowflake Summit will elicit thrills and chills! Unlimited rides are included with your Winter Fest admission ticket. To skip the lines, purchase an Ice Tube Fastpass for just $10 (online) while supplies last.
  • Play in real snow! Alpine Village is newly expanded this year and includes SoCal’s largest snow play with fresh snow blown daily. Now double the size of last year, the area will feature inflatables, a craft tent, food trucks, a toddler play area, and the festival of lights with a 100 foot animated light tunnel.
Ice Skating at Winter Fest
  • Ice skate under the stars. Located next to the 30 foot tall Christmas tree, families can test out their skating skills at SoCal’s largest ice rink. Admission is $15 (online).
Carnival at Winter Fest OC
  • Take flight on the Giant Ferris Wheel. The Candy Cane Carnival features over a dozen rides and games, including the Holiday Ferris Wheel, the Tilt-a-Whirl, Zipper and the Carousel. If you purchase the Online Platinum Ice Pass, you’ll receive Admission,  Ice Skating, Unlimited Carnival Rides & Attractions, and an Snowflake Summit Ice Tube Fast Pass,  for $43 (online).
Princess at Winter Fest OC
  • Capture your favorite Winter Fest Memories. Along with photos with Santa, families have access to a number of photo spots to remember their time at Winter Fest including a 30 foot tall Christmas tree, the world’s largest ornament, and the world’s largest rocking horse.
  • Craft with the elves and write a letter to Santa. Winter Fest is decidedly family-friendly and thus you’ll find a number of kid-centric activities including crafts, games, and photos with Santa and Mrs. Claus at Santa’s Workshop. Winter Fest OC also includes winter-themed bounce houses and slides, arcade games, Santa’s petting zoo, a Little Elves toddler play area, and character live shows/meet & greets which include PAW Patrol, Hatchimals, PJ Masks, Octonauts, and Peppa Pig.
  • Indulge in festive holiday eats and treats. Enjoy a varied selection of seasonal foods including grilled entrees, desserts, cocktails, craft beers, wines, and sweet treats at Winter Fest OC. You can also nosh on delicacies from local food trucks.
Ice Princess

Winter Fest OC Admission and Information

Along with offering families an exciting array of festive, winter activities, the OC Fair & Event Center will be dressed up for the holiday. Throughout the space, you’ll also find roaming Winter Fest characters, magicians, performances by singers and artists and a nightly tree lighting ceremony complete with snow flurries. You can also stroll through the more than two million lights in 5 lands at the Festival of Lights. Be sure to ride through the 100-foot tunnel on the trackless train.

Festival of Lights

Admission to Winter Fest OC starts at $13 for children and $18 for adults (when purchased online, Monday through Friday) and includes access to snow play, the model train exhibit, the festival of lights, the inflatables, live entertainment and meet & greets, ice tubing slide, winter bounce houses, the snowboard simulator, Santa’s Petting Zoo, the World’s Largest Rocking Horse, the World’s Largest Ornament, nightly fireworks, nightly snowfall, and the nightly holiday parade. Season passes, fast passes, and unlimited ride wristbands are also available for purchase.

Holiday Carolers

Winter Fest OC Discount Tickets

Save on Winter Fest OC Tickets with the following promotions.

Goldstar: A limited number of general admission tickets are available starting at $12+ for kids and $16+ for adults. The ticket includes admission and an ice slide fast pass.

Costco: A limited number of packages for 2 are available. For $39.99, you will receive 2 general admission tickets, 2 Carnival Ride Passes, and 2 Snowflake Summit Fast Passes.

Fireworks at Winter Fest OC

Private VIP Cabanas

Do you plan to visit Winter Fest OC with a group of friends or family members? Why not book a rink-side Private, ice rink-side VIP Cabana, starting at $69 per session. These cabanas can accommodate up to 10 guests (and linked to accommodate up to 150 guests) and includes a private server, exclusive VIP access, a warm, private cozy space, visits from strolling entertainment, and a special menu featuring holiday-inspired foods and craft cocktails (for an additional fee). This is ideal for holiday office parties, birthday parties, family retreats, and/or date nights.

Club Winter Fest

The new lounge area features pristine views of the nightly Christmas tree lighting ceremony and includes a free drink upon entry. Tickets are limited.

Toy Soldiers

Winter Fest OC Giveaway

One of you will win general admission for 10 guests, plus a private Rink-Side VIP Cabana for one rental session (based on availability). (This is a $320 value). Simply complete the Rafflecopter form and leave a comment with one thing you are most excited about. Comments will close on December 15, 2019 at 11:59 pm PST.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

US Residents only. Duplicates and comments not including the above information will be disqualified. Comments are moderated. If you don’t see your comment in a reasonable amount of time, send me an email. Bloggers and non-bloggers may enter. If you don’t want to leave your email address, please be sure to check back for my announcement on the winner. Please note that winners must respond within 48 hours of being announced/contacted or another winner will be drawn.

Tree at Winter Fest OC

For more information or to purchase tickets to Winter Fest OC, visit You can also follow on FacebookInstagramTwitter, and YouTube #WinterFestOC.

 Images: Winter Fest OC

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The Magic of Christmas Starring The Young Americans Sun, 01 Dec 2019 14:00:52 +0000 The first time my daughter saw The Young Americans perform, she whispered to me that one day, she would like to audition to perform with them. The talent displayed by this group of singers, dancers, and musicians is nothing short of impressive. The Magic of Christmas, starring The Young Americans, is Southern California’s longest-running holiday extravaganza, and it returns to the the La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts December 6-15, 2019.

The Magic of Christmas

The Young Americans

Did you know? The concept of the show choir has its origins in The Young Americans, founded in 1982. For over 50 years, The Young Americans have inspired the world through music with captivating performances, signature youth programs and a performing arts college. Additionally, they have released albums, appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show, sung backup on Sammy Davis, Jr.’s The Candy Man, and opened for Liberace and Johnny Mathis. If you have ever watched Glee or Pitch Perfect, those song-and dance ensembles were inspired by The Young Americans.

The Magic of Christmas starring The Young Americans

The Magic of Christmas starring The Young Americans

This season, the Young Americans will transform the La Mirada Theatre into a winter wonderland! Since 1983, The Young Americans have produced a holiday show that warms and delights Southern California families.

The Magic of Christmas features a cast of over 200, state-of-the-art 45-foot digital screens, over 6,000 costumes, 30 festive scene changes, and snow! This holiday spectacular is perfect for families with young children and grand parents, lending to its multi-generational appeal. Highlights include dancing Santas, tap-dancing penguins in The Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairies, selections from Elf: The Musical, How The Grinch Stole Christmas, The Polar Express, and a holiday reworking of Broadway jukebox musicals such as Jersey Boys and Mamma Mia! 

The Magic of Christmas Young Americans

A state-of-the-art 45-foot video wall presents a vibrant backdrop to 30 holiday scenes including The Holiday Inn, The Polar Express, and Adventures in a Winter Wonderland. Songs from artists like Elvis Presley, Celine Dion, Lionel Richie, Tina Turner, the Four Seasons, and more are reworked with holiday themed lyrics and youthful enthusiasm. Traditional favorites including The Christmas Waltz, Let It Snow!, Let It Snow!, Let It Snow!, It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas, and many more round out the program.

A moving finale, which has become a Christmas tradition, spotlights the entire cast in a massed choral concert featuring excerpts from Handel’s Messiah.

The Magic of Christmas Tickets and Showtimes

Tickets for The Magic of Christmas starring The Young Americans are $65.00 and $23.00and are available online, in person at the La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts box office, and via phone (714) 994-6310. Special pricing on weekday matinees are available Wednesday December 11 and Friday December 13. For additional information visit

The Magic of Christmas Discount Code

Be sure to use our discount code “MagicMom” to save 15% on all performances Wednesday through Friday.

Performances are as follows:

  • Saturday, December 7 at 2pm & 8pm
  • Sunday, Dec. 8 at 2pm & 7:30pm
  • Wednesday, December 11 at 2pm & 8pm
  • Thursday, December 12 at 8pm 
  • Friday, December 13 at 2pm & 8pm
  • Saturday, December 14 at 2pm & 8pm
  • Sunday, December 15 at 2pm

La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts:

14900 La Mirada Boulevard., La Mirada, CA 90638.

Be sure to follow The Young Americans on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube @TheYoungAmericans, and Twitter at @YoungAmericans.

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