Rockin Mama™ Motherhood, Giveaways and Product Reviews Fri, 16 Oct 2020 04:36:19 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Rockin Mama™ 32 32 111966601 The Right Stuff on Disney+ Fri, 09 Oct 2020 23:38:28 +0000 My father was a huge fan of National Geographic, and we spent significant time together watching nature, science and history documentaries. When I first learned National Geographic was developing a TV series based on the early days of the U. S. Space Program, I was very intrigued. I have followed so many of our incredible astronauts’ endeavors over the years. Earlier this week, we attended the world premiere of The Right Stuff, which debuts on Disney+ this Friday, October 9, 2020.

I was invited to the premiere of The Right Stuff by Disney+. All opinions solely reflect those of the author.

The Right Stuff

The Right Stuff is the incredible story of the early days of the U.S. Space Program and America’s first astronauts, the Mercury Seven. Set in 1959, at the height of the Cold War, the Soviet Union leads the international space race and the US fears for its global position. NASA (The National Aeronautics and Space Administration) had formed the year prior and was tasked with sending a man into space. With just two years to accomplish the feat, Project Mercury is to recruit and train astronauts from the military’s best pilots.

Based on the iconic bestseller by Tom Wolfe. At the height of the Cold War, newly-formed NASA selects seven of the military’s best test pilots to become astronauts. Competing to be the first in space, these men achieve the extraordinary, inspiring the world to turn towards a new horizon of ambition and hope.

Days after being presented to the world, the Mercury Seven achieve instant fame, achieving hero status before being deemed worth of such accolades. The Right Stuff focuses on the story of Major John Glenn, a Marine and family man, and Lieutenant Commander Alan Shepard, one of the best pilots in Navy history as they vie to become the first man in space.

The Right Stuff is fascinating and gripping, particularly for anyone interested in the U.S. Space Program. The series also spends time drawing audiences into the astronauts’ families. Annie Glenn grapples with a speech impairment in front of the public eye while Louise Shepard is her family’s anchor in the midst of her husband’s infidelity. And yet, the picture painted for the public tells a very different story.

The U.S. Space Program ended in 2011. The Right Stuff offers a nostalgic, dramatic look back in time when ordinary humans achieved the extraordinary.

Disney+ will launch the first two episodes of The Right Stuff on October 9, 2020, with subsequent episodes debuting weekly into November.


Disney+ is where families can stream movies and shows from Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, National Geographic, and more from the comfort of their home. Disney+ is available on most internet-connected devices and offers commercial-free programming with a variety of original feature-length films, documentaries, live-action and animated series and short-form content. Visit to subscribe. If you are a Verizon member, you can get 6 months of Disney+ for free with select unlimited plans, or one year when you switch to 5G FiOS Home Internet. Visit

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Halloween Events in Southern California 2020 Fri, 02 Oct 2020 11:26:17 +0000 Halloween is not canceled (thankfully!). But it will look a little different this year due to COVID-19. I honestly wasn’t sure what the Fall season would look like, but the creativity of brands has resulted in new and reimagined Halloween events. Scroll down for a comprehensive list of socially-distanced, family-friendly Halloween events in Southern California, including Los Angeles and Orange County. Be sure to check back for updates to current Halloween Events.

Camp Snoopy Trick-or-Treat Trail

Knott’s Taste of Fall-O-Ween

Over the weekend, we kicked off the Fall season with a festive, foodie event at Knott’s Berry Farm. Their latest Fall event combines not-too-spooky fun and entertainment with the flavors of Fall. Taste Of Fall-O-Ween is their latest outdoor dining and shopping experience which celebrates all-things Fall! Families of all ages are invited to dress up and enjoy the eats and treats of the park, festive entertainment, exclusive merchandise, and trick-or-treating through Camp Snoopy all in a socially-distanced space. If you’re a fan of Scary Farm, be sure to check out the “Into the Fog” art show. In order to experience Taste of Fall-O-Ween you’ll need to purchase a tasting card (Adults $35, Kids $20). Trick-or-Treating is included with the Junior Tasting Cards. Fridays through Sundays plus select added Thursdays, September 25 – November 1, and Columbus Day (Monday, Oct. 12).

Halloween in Miniland

Miniland U.S.A. is LEGOLAND California’s destination for not-too-spooky Halloween fun. The ticketed event includes character meet and greets, virtual costume contests (don’t forget to wear your costume), a Miniland scavenger hunt, LEGO building activities, and a goody bag filled with candy and a LEGO surprise. Families who attend the event can also dine at Smoke House BBQ and NINJA Kitchen and satisfy their sweet cravings with the theme park’s world-famous Granny’s Apple Fries. The Big Shop will also be open for kids to pick out the latest LEGO sets. If you plan to stay at the LEGOLAND Hotel or LEGOLAND Castle Hotel, you’ll enjoy festive décor throughout the Fall season. SEA LIFE aquarium is also open and will feature special Halloween decorations and LEGO models on display underwater in the aquarium’s tanks. Halloween in Miniland tickets can be purchased online for as low as $12.99. Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays during October (Oct. 2-4, 9-11, 16-18, 23-25, 30 & 31).

SeaWorld Spooktacular

SeaWorld’s expansive outdoor space is the perfect backdrop for this spooktacular event. SeaWorld Spooktacular will feature the following physically-distanced activities: Outdoor Monster Mash DJ Dance Party, Pumpkin Scavenger Hunt, Cookie Decorating with Cookie Monster and Elmo, Sesame Street Halloween Dance Party, photo opps with your favorite Sesame Street characters in their Halloween costumes on parade floats, the Spooktacular Trail to the Candy Garden, and SeaWorld’s Shark Encounter, adorned with dozens of jack-o-lanterns. Families can also visit their favorite animal viewing areas including penguins, otters, dolphins, orcas, and sea lions and attend the world-famous Dolphin, Sea Lion and Orca Encounter live educational presentations with physically distant seating. Online tickets start at $73.99 for adults (10 and older) and $63.99 for children (ages 3 to 9). Children under 3 are free. Right now, SeaWorld is offering one child, aged 3 to 9, free admission with one full-paid adult admission through November 1. Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through November.

Boo at the Zoo

Boo at the Zoo is one of our favorite family-friendly Halloween events in Orange County. Held at the Santa Ana Zoo, the experience will look different this year due to current pandemic restrictions. Boo at the Zoo “Passive Walk Through Experience” will feature a fun Halloween trail through the Zoo during extended admission hours. Discover their “merry, not scary” decorations along the way as a family. Guests can wear family-friendly costumes and collect goody bags for each child on the way out. Limited timed tickets must be purchased online in advance $10 Members, $15 Non-Members, ages 3 and up. You can read about our previous experience at Boo at the Zoo here. October 28, 29, 30, 31: 5:30-7:30 PM.

Scarium of the Pacific

We are longstanding fans of the Aquarium of the Pacific, having spent countless hours learning, observing, and being in awe of the incredible, diverse sea life. We visited the aquarium last year during the Fall for Scarium of the Pacific, their annual Halloween-themed family-friendly weekend. The Aquarium of the Pacific will host Scarium of the Pacific this year, although it may vary due to the restriction in place due to COVID-19. Enjoy spooky décor and creepy creatures as you explore the Aquarium. Guests are encouraged to wear family-friendly costumes during this event. Timed entry tickets must be purchased in advance online and start at $17. You can read about our previous experience here. October 23, 24, and 25.

Not So Spooky Farm

The re-emergence of the drive-through experience has resulted in a number of creative events. Our family personally prefers these experiences because they ensure physical distancing in a fun, safe environment. Not So Spooky Farm is a halloween drive-thru experience that is fun for the whole family. Follow the adventure of Stingy Jack from your car. After discovering a map in a forgotten temple, Stingy is now on a mission to uncover candy clues to reach the fabled treasure of the dreaded pirate, Bluebeard. Drive through treasure temples, candy cannibal safaris, prehistoric parties, hedge mazes, cornfields, and princess towers while collecting tricks and candy treats for everyone in your vehicle along the way. Tickets must be purchased ahead of time and start at $65 per car. Daily, October 26-November 29, 2020.

Haunt ‘O Ween LA 

Haunt ‘O Ween LA is one of LA’s largest drive-thru Halloween experiences, designed to keep the traditions and excitement of the season alive. Guests will drive through a variety of installations, including a Jack-O’-Lantern tunnel with over 1,000 brightly lit pumpkins, a blacklight tunnel powered by FX’s Emmy®-nominated series What We Do in the Shadows, an array of Halloween environments and mini-maze routes featuring giant pumpkins and countless themed overlays, and an interactive pumpkin patch with a pumpkin of your choice to take home. Costumed and safely masked actors will provide in-vehicle “door to door” trick-or-treating on a two-street, built-out neighborhood, with plenty of wrapped candy and decorations for the kids. Families will also enjoy live musical performances by The BeatBuds at select, surprise times. Throughout the experience, socially distanced photo and multi-cam video ops will encourage social sharing in a safe, contactless environment. Tickets are available for $70 online. October 9-31.

HalGLOWeen at the San Diego Zoo

The San Diego Zoo will host a modified version of their popular HalGLOWeen event. Designed with social distancing in mind, families will enjoy a Bubble Dance Party, Python Path, Dr. Zoolittle’s Mask-erade, Acro-Catz and Acro-Batz, Dusty Keys – Tunes From Beyond, San Diego Rock Radio 201.8, and Skeleton Trio. HalGLOWeen is included with the price of admission. October 9–11, 16–18, and 23–25 (5 pm to 9 pm).

Nights of the Jack

Nights of the Jack has shifted to a drive-thru experience this year due to COVID-19. The family-friendly experience includes an extended driving trail with thousands of hand-carved and illuminated Jack O’Lanterns. You will see larger-than-life pumpkin installations and detailed artist depictions of your favorite movie stars, sports heroes, and animated characters. Nights of the Jack takes place through King Gillette Ranch in Calabasas, California. Tickets are $69 per vehicle, up to 7 people. October 1 – November 1, 2020, 7 pm to 10 pm. 

Tanaka Farms Pumpkin Patch

Tanaka Farms

Tanaka Farms is one of our favorite places to visit year-round. My kids have taken numerous field trips to Tanaka Farms, learning all about how our food is grown. We really enjoy their U-Pick activities and seasonal events. This year, due to COVID-19, Tanaka Farms will offer two socially-distanced Fall activities. Monday through Friday, families can take a one-hour U-Pick Pumpkin Wagon Ride around the 30-acre farm. Activities include the pumpkin cannon, a ride through the barnyard education exhibit with farm animals, a scarecrow contest, sunflowers, U-Pick veggies, and a pumpkin that you can pick yourself. Weekends, enjoy their drive-thru pumpkin farm experience which includes a pumpkin, samples, and the views around the farm. Be sure to book your reservation online. Daily through October 31, 2020.

Pumpkin Patch at Irvine Park

Irvine Park Railroad

The Pumpkin Patch at Irvine Park Railroad is another of our longtime, favorite, local Fall events. This year, the event will be modified in compliance with local orders. Perhaps the most significant change is that when Pumpkin Patch reaches capacity, as one family/group exits, another family/group will be allowed to enter. Additionally, pumpkins will not be displayed around the park as in previous years. To purchase a pumpkin, visit the stand where you will be shown a variety of options. Additional activities include the train and hay wagon ride, a couple of game booths that will be sanitized after every use, and a few photo opportunity areas for group/family photos. Entrance to the Irvine Park Pumpkin Patch is free. Parking is $3.00 per vehicle on weekdays, $5.00 per vehicle on weekends and $7.00 per vehicle on holidays. October 1-31, 2020.

Little Legends Night at the OC Fair

The OC Fair will host a special, “not so spooky” haunt for families with children under the age of 13. Dress in your favorite costume, decorate your car, and be part of the Spooktacular parade. The event will also include COVID-safe goody bags with packaged candy. All participants must remain in their cars. October 31 5 pm to 7 pm.

Halloween at Descanso Gardens

Throughout the month of October, Descanso Gardens will celebrate Halloween. The pumpkin-filled extravaganza invites guests to peruse socially-distanced pumpkin-themed displays in the most popular sections of the Gardens. Explore the twisting hay maze, take photos at the Gardens’ signature Pumpkin House made from real pumpkins, and follow the path to the Camelia Forest to pass under the Pumpkin Arch. The path through the forest contains surprises including scarecrows with pumpkin heads and branched arms popping out as you pass. In the Oak Grove, you’ll find a mandala of pumpkins, like sunbursts coming from the trunks of the trees in orange, white and green, will swirl across the landscape. The pathways to the Hilltop Gardens, the Japanese Garden, and the main Promenade will be decorated with hand-carved wooden jack-o’-lantern boxes. October 1 – 31, 2020, 9 am to 5 pm with extended hours October 26 – 31 from 5 pm to 8 pm.

Pumpkins in the Pines at Skypark at Santa’s Village

Celebrate Fall in Lake Arrowhead. Pumpkins in the Pines is the ultimate Fall celebration at SkyPark Santa’s Village. Families can enjoy a special puppet show which tells the tale of the Legend of Sleepy Hollow, a magic show with Wacko the Magician, a meet and greet with the Northwoods characters, a park-wide pumpkin patch, pumpkin painting, and contactless trick-or-treating. Every Saturday, enjoy a Fantom Forest Spooky Hike (6 pm to 8 pm). Families can also participate in the Monster Mash Skate Party on October 24, and the Spooky Skate Night on October 31, 2020. Activities are included with admission. Attendance is limited and reservations should be made online. Saturday and Sunday October 10-11, 17-18, 24-25 and 30-November 1.

Halloween Boutique at Roger’s Gardens

Take a stroll through Roger’s Gardens and pick up your favorite Halloween and Fall decor. You can also experience their free exhibit, A Pirate’s Life for Me. Take a wild adventure out to sea and enter into the World of Pirates. Explore the private corridors and cabins below the ships deck to find precious gems. Venture underwater as you search through caves and discover treasures, surprises and frights to decorate your home for Halloween. Free. Through October 20, 2020.

Peltzer Pumpkin Farm

Located in Temecula, California, Peltzer Pumpkin Farm traditionally offers gold mining, pig races, pony rides, a petting zoo, and the opportunity to pick out your own pumpkin. This season, the farm will offer limited attractions and will not hold pig races or carnival games due to COVID-19. Entrance to the Pumpkin Farm is $2 during the week, and $3 Saturdays and Sundays. Attractions sold separately. Daily through October 31, 2020.

Coloring at Zoomars


Located in the Los Rios District of San Juan Capistrano, Zoomars offers families an opportunity to visit with their animals and pick out the perfect pumpkin. Activities include feeding the guinea pigs, goats, and sheep, pony rides, mining, the train ride, and the playground. October 1-31, 2020

Haunted Aquarium Remix at Birch Aquarium

Birch Aquarium invites families to see the “creeps of the deep” during their month-long event. Haunted Aquarium Remix will take place outdoors including Tide Pool Plaza, Smargon Courtyard, and the Education Courtyard. Kids can dress up and they will receive a Discovery Booklet which will guide their explorations. Kids will learn about the slimy seaweed, several species of small sharks, and creepy, crawly critters like  Sea Spiders. They will also enjoy the Haunted Kelp Maze, explore what happens when a whale “falls”, and get up close with nautical nutrients, some of the tiniest critters at the aquarium. October 1-31, 2020

Pumpkin Factory

This year, Pumpkin Factory will take place at 3 locations across Southern California. Families will enjoy the pumpkin patch, rides, slides and the petting zoo. October 2-31, 2020

Frosty’s Forest

Celebrate Fall at Frosty’s Forest with a viewing zoo and feeding cones, a four-acre Alice in Wonderland Themed Maze, a Haunted Corn Maze, photo opportunities, a Sunflower Labyrinths, and pumpkins! October 10 -31, 2020

Festifall at City Hall

Dress up in your favorite Halloween costume and bring a decorated pumpkin help turn City Hall into a Pumpkin Patch. Families can then “escape” the fun maze, grab a take-home craft, and take a family photo at the Photo Booth. October 23 – October 29, 2020.  

The Pumpkin Corral

The Pumpkin Corral will be located at Main Place Mall and includes a pumpkin patch with rides, games, delicious food and a petting zoo. October 3-October 31

The Bite LA: Halloween Food Crawl and Creature Safari at LEGG LAKE

Part food crawl, part drive-through haunt, The Bite LA takes you around eerie Legg Lake through immersive environments. Bites vary from sweet to savory and will include vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options. Each person will receive 8 bites, a Campfire Dessert, and a warm Fall drink. Bring a flashlight and hunt for monstrous creatures roaming the abyss, park around the virtual campfire for scary ghost stories, and decorate your ride to be entered into the Car Costume Contest. October 10-11, 15-18, 22-25, 27-November 1, 2020

Underwood Family Farms

Celebrate Fall Harvest on the Farm. Families who visit Underwood Family Farms can enjoy an expansive, 50-acre pumpkin patch, pick your own, and a harvest experience. Admission includes wagon rides, a corn trail ride-through, a gigantic pumpkin patch, pick your own fields, photo opportunities, a pumpkin house, a giant tractor display, giant spiders, a harvest basket, a misting tunnel, a hay pyramid, animal center viewing, pull wagons & wheelbarrows available, and roaming performers at a distance (Weekends only). Admission $8 Monday-Friday, $15 Saturday and Sunday. October 1 – October 31

Bates Nut Farm

Families have been visiting Bats Nut Farm’s Pumpkin Patch for over 50 years. During your visit, families can grab a wheelbarrow and pick from a variety of pumpkins including Big Macs, Ghost, Cinderella, Jack O’Lantern, minis, squash, and gourds. Take a tractor hayride, walk through the straw maze, enjoy Snows Pony Rides, and visit the petting corral. Parking $5, activities individually priced. October 1 – 31, 2020

Pumpkin Patch at Tom’s Farms

Located in Temescal Valley, the pumpkin patch is filled with fun, spooky displays and pumpkins to take home. October 9-31, 2020 8 am – 8pm

Drive-Thru Trunk-or-Treat at Saddleback Church

In lieu of their annual Halloween event, Saddleback Church will host a drive-thru Trunk-or-Treat. Enjoy the evening with your whole family, see some super cool decorated trunks, while the kids enjoy candy, games and treats, all from the safety of your vehicle! October 31, 2020 Irvine North, Lake Forest, Corona


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Distance Learning from Anywhere – San Diego Metro KOA Wed, 30 Sep 2020 13:38:01 +0000 When my suspicions about what this school year would look like were confirmed, I was disappointed for my kids but relieved and excited about all of the ways we could get creative with distance learning. I like to make lemons out of lemonade, which pretty much describes my approach to most of 2020. This year has looked nothing like we thought it might, but living through a pandemic has helped us focus on those things that really matter. Our vacations and weekends look nothing like our 2020 planner, but the ways we have created memories together have been life changing, forever imprinted on our hearts. Our latest adventure brought us back to one of our favorite ways to bond as a family… cabin camping. Since my kids can learn from anywhere, we decided to spend a few days at San Diego Metro KOA.

This post was written in partnership with San Diego Kampgrounds of America.

Distance Learning San Diego KOA

San Diego Metro KOA

Located in Chula Vista, California, San Diego Metro KOA is one of the most popular camping resorts in the area, and for good reason. The campground is absolutely gorgeous! We explored the entire destination via banana bikes and had an opportunity to see all of the ways families can camp (and they are numerous!).

The camping resort is ideally situated near the best San Diego attractions including Sea World, the San Diego Zoo, Safari Park, LEGOLAND, the USS Midway Museum, and more. We had every intention of getting out to explore San Diego, but with so much to do onsite at San Diego Metro KOA, we never left! It is rare for us to have a true staycation, but the campground makes it convenient with every amenity you can imagine available for camping.

Swimming Pool San Diego KOA

There is so much to see and do at San Diego KOA. Here is a list of all the amenities offered (please note that some activities/amenities may be temporarily suspended/closed due to COVID-19):

  • Basketball
  • Climbing Wall
  • Game Room (closed)
  • Horseshoes
  • Jumping Pillows (closed)
  • Meeting Room with Kitchen
  • Surf Shack Shootout Game
  • Outdoor Meeting Tent
  • Ping Pong
  • The Backyard-2 acre grass field
  • The Sand Castle Cafe: Need a break from cooking? Enjoy an al fresco meal on the boardwalk. The cafe is open daily and serves baked goods, a pancake breakfast, breakfast burritos, burgers, gourmet pizza, farm fresh salads and treats.
  • Kamping Kitchen
  • World Class Playground (closed)
Kids Room San Diego KOA

How to Camp at San Diego Metro KOA

I grew up camping in a tent, so I can survive for several days with little more than running water. Cabin camping with KOA introduced me to the world of glamping, and admittedly, it is much easier logistically, particularly with kids. With so many ways to camp at San Diego KOA, you can reserve a tent site, Whether you prefer to camp via RV, tent, or cabin, San Diego KOA has sites dedicated to your needs.

My father loved to rent an RV and spend a week or two exploring the California coast. RV camping offers both flexibility and convenience while still connecting families with nature. It has been many years since I’ve camped in an RV (mostly because I do not know how to drive one), but if you prefer this method of camping, San Diego KOA offers sites with full hookups.

I am most familiar with tent camping, which really is the most minimal way to enjoy the outdoors. San Diego KOA offers individual and group tent sites, some of which include water and electricity. If you are traveling with your pet, tent camping is ideal. If you enjoy tent camping but prefer some conveniences (such as a bed and a small kitchen), check out the Glamping Tents at San Diego KOA (we will be sharing more about this unique way to camp soon!) It should also be noted that restrooms and showers are located onsite for those who are tent and RV camping.

Cabin camping is my new favorite way to camp! We have stayed at several KOA locations over the past few years, and glamping cabins make it incredibly easy to camp with kids. San Diego KOA offers three types of camping cabins, including the their brand new Deluxe Poolside Cabins, Deluxe Cabins, and Camping Cabins. The Deluxe Cabins include beds and linens, a full bath with shower, and a full or partial kitchen. The Camping Cabins are ideal for those who enjoy traditional camping, but do not want to set up a tent. These cabins beds and electricity and are close to restrooms/showers.

Poolside Cabin Interior San Diego KOA

Deluxe Poolside Cabins at San Diego Metro KOA

The Deluxe Poolside Cabins are the newest and most luxurious way to camp at San Diego Metro KOA. Spacious covered porches, a king size bed, a full kitchen, and a loft make it easy to enjoy the outdoors in comfort.

One of the first things we noticed about the new Poolside Cabins is their location. Our cabin was located steps away from the pool, and the porch made for some lovely sunrise and evening views.

These Deluxe Cabins comfortably accommodate up to 6 people. Our family included 2 adults and 2 children, which left 2 extra beds available. It is important to note that the bunks are ideal for children, particularly given the vertical space. I slept in the upstairs loft, which includes a comfortable queen-sized bed. It should also be noted that the loft has a low ceiling, so older kids and adults may need to duck while walking around.

I am well-traveled and have stayed in hostels and 5-star hotels. The best accommodations for our family are those that include important amenities like a refrigerator, a full bathroom, and reliable WiFi. The team at San Diego Metro KOA really thought about everything with regards to the design of these cabins. Spacious enough to comfortably sleep 6, the poolside cabins include 2 bedrooms and a sleeping loft (linens included), a full bathroom, and a full kitchen. Luxury items include 2 flat screen TVs with over 20 channels of cable. The kitchen includes a refrigerator, a stovetop, a microwave, a toaster, and all of the pots, pans, dishes and utensils you’ll need to prepare meals and snacks. The cabin site also includes a fire pit (perfect for roasting s’mores) and a grill (perfect for burgers and steaks!).

Prior to our visit, we shopped for our favorite camping meal essentials to avoid leaving the campsite. It is rare for us not to eat a single meal out while on vacation. Planning our favorite camping meals helped save money. We also gleaned some ideas from the KOA blog and cooked up some new recipes including Waffle Iron Grilled Cheese and Skillet Cornbread.

Roasting Smores

Socially-Distanced Activities at San Diego Metro KOA

San Diego Metro KOA is known for their unique amenities and robust activity program. Due to COVID-19, some activities may be altered or on hold to comply with social distancing recommendations.

Pool San Diego KOA

Swimming: We spent every day of our staycation at the pool. Due to the pandemic, guests must reserve a 2-hour slot during the weekends (same-day reservations can be made at the pool beginning at 8:30 am). The pool is closed and cleaned in between reservation slots. One of the many benefits of staying during the week is that the campground does not require reserved pool slots Monday through Thursday.

Tie Dye at San Diego KOA

Crafting: My daughter loves to craft, so we picked up one of the Activity Packages available at the kids club. There are three packages and the activities include a tie dye shirt, plaster painting, paper games, a s’mores kit, and a watermelon ball. The kids club includes everything you need to complete the crafts and activities such as paint, brushes, etc. You can order an activity package before you arrive or upon check-in.

Biking at San Diego KOA

Bike Rides: One of our new favorite KOA activities is to rent bikes to cruise around the campground. It is also a fun way to get in some exercise. At present, you can rent 3-wheel Fun Cycles, 4-wheel Peddle Carts, and 2-6 Person Surrey Bikes for 30 or 60 minutes.

Due to COVID-19 and the regulations in place to slow the spread of the virus, the following amenities are temporarily closed. As always, be sure to check in with the campsite for the most up-to-date information regarding available activities.

  • Spas 
  • Playgrounds 
  • Jumping Pillows
  • Game/Activity Rooms
Campfire KOA

Socially-Distanced Fall Festival – Weekends in October

Halloween is not canceled! We were so excited to learn that San Diego Metro KOA will host five Fall Fest Weekends in October. Bring your costumes because families will enjoy a costume contest and a Monster Mash. Additional Fall Fest activities include pumpkin carving, an outdoor movie, and more. Be sure to ask for the latest information on current events onsite upon check in.

Camping With Your Pet

San Diego KOA is a dog-friendly campground and features a 7000 square foot dog park called Kamp K9. We rode our bikes over to the dog park and were impressed with the size and play structures available for dogs. Some cabins do not allow pets, so be sure to read the details carefully if you plan to travel with your canine friend.

Ready to book your next stay at San Diego Metro KOA? Visit

Poolside Cabins at San Diego KOA
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Pumpkin Butternut Squash Ravioli Recipe Mon, 14 Sep 2020 15:00:45 +0000 {Sponsored}

A couple of weeks ago, I went to New York with a mission…to eat my way through the city!  With a little help from my local foodie friends, I dined at some very cool, off-the-beaten path restaurants in Manhattan.  High tea at Sarabeth’s, coffee at Épicerie, antipasti at Chef Mario Batali’s pizzeria Otto, and the highlight of my culinary adventures…Scarlotto’s melt-in-your-mouth Pumpkin Ravioli.  As I relished every single bite, I thought about how Jason and I could recreate this dish at home. If you haven’t noticed, food is our “thing” and we’re always looking for ways to take it up a notch, particularly when we have some time. Fall is the perfect season to cook and bake, and with an abundance of pumpkins and squash in-season, I decided to recreate one of my favorite dishes at home.

Pumpkin Butternut Squash Ravioli

I love making dishes from scratch because I can use fresh wholesome ingredients and experiment with a variety of flavors.  But since I had never attempted ravioli, I thought I would save some time and effort by purchasing fresh pasta sheets from our local grocery store (I used the Square Wraps by House Foods).  The most time consuming part of this recipe is roasting the squash and pumpkins and filling the pasta sheets, so be sure to plan accordingly (I recommend prepping the day before, particularly if you plan to serve a sufficient number of people). With my foodie-oriented mind and my husband’s brilliant creativity in the kitchen, together we created this delightful Pumpkin Butternut Squash Ravioli Recipe with Sage Brown Butter Sauce and Pomegranate Molasses!


Pumpkin Butternut Squash Ravioli

Pomegranate Molasses Recipe


  • 1/4 Cup Pomegranate Juice
  • 1/4 Cup Molasses


  • Combine Molasses and Pomegranate juice in a small sauce pan
  • Boil down by half and allow to cool

Pumpkin Butternut Squash Ravioli

Pomegranate Molasses Recipe


  • 1/4 Cup Pomegranate Juice
  • 1/4 Cup Molasses


  • Combine Molasses and Pomegranate juice in a small sauce pan
  • Boil down by half and allow to cool

Pumpkin Butternut Squash Ravioli

Pomegranate Molasses Recipe


  • 1/4 Cup Pomegranate Juice
  • 1/4 Cup Molasses


  • Combine Molasses and Pomegranate juice in a small sauce pan
  • Boil down by half and allow to cool

Roasting Squash and Pumpkins

Our local Walmart has a large variety of pumpkins, gourds, and squash in abundant sizes, shapes, and colors, so I picked up several since I wasn’t entirely sure at the time how I would put together this meal.  Pumpkin ravioli recipes are relatively easy to find online, but those incorporating squash are few and far between.  I liked the idea of combining the two in order to balance the sweet and savory flavors of these related but very different types of squash.  If you’re short on time, you could easily substitute organic canned butternut squash and pumpkin, but I think roasting them adds a fresh flavor not easily replicated.

Sage Brown Butter Sauce

I really wanted this dish to be a balance of sweet and savory flavors without one overwhelming the other.  The first time I indulged in a dish with beurre noisette (brown butter) left a very lasting culinary impression on my palate, so I was itching to incorporate this French delicacy into a dish.  The addition of sage provided just the right earthy flavor for this sauce which I then spooned over the ravioli.

Earlier this year, I made a Vegan Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with Pomegranate Garnish and the two flavors complimented each other nicely, so I incorporated one of my all-time favorite Fall fruits into this recipe.  I love how this fruit is a delicate blend of sweet and tart flavors which is why it doesn’t overwhelm a dish that should primarily be savory.  While the pumpkin and squash are roasting, I suggest making the Pomegranate Molasses, which shouldn’t take too long.


If you are using store-bought pasta sheets and they need to be cut down, this is also a good time to do that.  While this recipe is not difficult, it does require several steps.  Using freshly made pasta sheets without artificial ingredients is a great way to cut some of the time and labor out of creating this recipe without sacrificing flavor or freshness.

Pumpkin Butternut Squash Ravioli

Overall, this dish was absolutely delightful, if not a teeny bit indulgent.  It’s a wonderful dish to serve for a holiday gathering or an at-home date night. What are your favorite Fall recipes?  I’d love to see what you’re cooking this season!

*All of the ingredients used to create the recipe, minus the pasta sheets, were purchased in the grocery section of our local Walmart.

Walmart Moms Disclaimer 2013


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Complete Guide to Visiting Catalina Island Wed, 09 Sep 2020 14:20:16 +0000 SoCal friends, an Island paradise is just one hour away, thanks to Catalina Express. Catalina Island is located 26 miles off the coast of California and offers visitors a paradise escape from the busyness of SoCal life. I grew up going to the island as a kid, camping at Two Harbors and driving around Avalon in a golf cart. Travel looks different these days due to COVID-19, which is why Catalina Island offers that island getaway we all need during this time. While not much has changed, scroll below to read through our Complete Guide to Visit Catalina Island, which includes how to get there, where to stay, where to eat, and what to do. We’ve also included some updated information regarding new safety protocols in place due to the current pandemic.

This post was written in collaboration with Catalina Express and Catalina Island Company. Travel, accommodations, some meals, and activities were provided which helped facilitate the writing of this post.

Harbor Views Catalina Island

About Catalina Island

I chose Catalina Island for our mother-daughter getaway due to its proximity to home and the expansive selection of outdoor activities. Many people, even in my circle, are still unaware that we as Southern California residents have our very own private island situated right off the coast.

Catalina Island is part of the Channel Islands of California and is within the jurisdiction of LA County. That becomes important at present, due to each county’s guidelines regarding our current pandemic.

While the island is expansive, at 22 miles long and 8 miles across, most people visiting the island will choose to spend their time vacationing in the city of Avalon or in the community of Two Harbors.

Catalina Island has a unique, exciting history which includes everything from otter hunting to gold-digging. It was William Wrigley Jr. (the man you can thank for chewing gum), who developed the island into a tourist destination in the 1920s.

Boarding Catalina Express

How to Get to Catalina Island

Catalina Express is the best way to get to Catalina Island, offering up to 30 departures daily (year-round) from ports in San Pedro, Long Beach, and Dana Point. With a large fleet of high-speed boats, the trip over to Catalina Island is approximately one hour.

The ride over to the island is generally smooth, however, if you are like me and tend to get seasick, I recommend bringing Sea-Band’s (or an alternative remedy).

Catalina Express

While the boats are expansive, due to current restrictions in capacity, I recommend booking your trip on Catalina Express early to secure your preferred date and time. Now that Catalina Island is open and welcoming visitors, it has become incredibly popular as an island getaway.

Tip: Do you want priority check-in and boarding? Upgrade your ticket to the Commodore Lounge! For just $15 each way, the lounge offers comfortable seating and includes a complimentary beverage and snack.

Visit (or call 800.481.3470) to book your next trip to Catalina Island.

Catalina Island Golf Cart Rentals

Getting Around Catalina Island

If you plan to visit Avalon, you’ll find that shops, restaurants, activities, and even a grocery store (Vons) are all within walking distance of the port where you dock. If you are in need of transportation, here are the best options for getting around Catalina Island:

Rent a Golf Cart

This is by far my favorite way to get around the island, and you’ll find more information in my post detailing the best things to do on Catalina Island. You can rent a golf cart from Catalina Island Golf Cart for 2-hour blocks and it is seriously the best way to see much of Avalon.

Take the Trolley

The Avalon trolley circles the city twice an hour an doffers one-ride and all-day fares.

Take a Taxi

If you are traveling with luggage, you may opt to take a taxi. Service is located at the ferry terminal and the taxi stand located on the corner of Crescent Avenue and Metropole Avenue.

Take the Free Shuttle

During the summer, the Catalina Island Company offers free shuttle transportation to Descanso Beach with a stop at the Catalina Casino. The shuttle departs from the Via Casino arch at the beginning of Casino Way.

The Avalon Hotel

Where to Stay On Catalina Island

Visitors to Catalina Island typically stay in the resort-like town of Avalon or the more rustic village of Two Harbors. As it was my daughter’s first visit to the island and we were looking for some r & r, Avalon was the perfect weekend destination.

The entire city is walkable, which makes it easy to sightsee, get adventurous, enjoy a leisurely meal, or lounge by the beach. We stayed at The Avalon Hotel, a serene, boutique hotel tucked along one of Avalon’s side streets. The hotel is perfectly situated within walking distance of the city’s main attractions, restaurants, and beaches.

Each room is spacious and includes a number of amenities, the most important being an in-room microwave and refrigerator, a flat-screen TV, personal climate control, and complimentary WiFi. Guests choose from either ocean or garden view rooms, each with its own private patio.

From the moment we checked into the Avalon Hotel, my daughter and I were impressed with the hospitality we received during our stay. The hotel has thought of everything, including complimentary snacks and in-room water, fully lined robes, a beach towel, a bag, and a chair for your beach days, and complimentary taxi service to and from the port. Breakfast (which is amazing) is included and served outside on the patio. While you’re enjoying breakfast, check out their fountain where a school of Koi live. Be sure to head up to their rooftop patio for panoramic views of Avalon and the harbor.

While there are a number of hotels available on the island, we really loved the location and intimate vibe of the Avalon Hotel. To view their current specials and packages, visit

Oceanfront Dining Bluewater Avalon

Where to Eat on Catalina Island

Food has always been an integral part of our travels. I always joke that when you travel with me, I’ll find the best food! Thanks to the recommendations of our partners and hosts, we dined at Bluewater Avalon and M Restaurant.

Bluewater Avalon

Bluewater Avalon

Our first meal on the island was an incredible lunch at Bluewater Avalon complete with freshly grilled halibut. ⁣We’ve dined at our local Bluewater Grill in Orange County and our experience in Avalon did not disappoint. ⁣

Alaskan Halibut
Kids Catch at Bluewater Avalon
Key Lime Pie

This is the city’s newest restaurant, serving up fresh, sustainable seafood. Located in the historic waterfront terminal building, Bluewater Avalon offers impeccable dishes with pristine views of the harbor.

The weather on the island is pleasant, so we found that dining outside on their waterfront patio was ideal given our current pandemic recommendations. Bluewater Avalon features an oyster bar and a sushi bar, happy hour, and a pet-friendly space.

M Restaurant Catalina Island

M Restaurant

I love seafood, and the island has a good variety of restaurants offering fresh, sustainable fish. ⁣We dined at the M Restaurant located at the newly remodeled Hotel Metropole with beautiful oceanfront views from their patio. ⁣

Shrimp Scampi Pasta
Fresh Greens
Flourless Chocolate Cake With Hazelnuts

Their dishes are made from scratch in-house using seasonal ingredients, grass-fed, natural, organic meats, and sustainable seafood. ⁣The M Restaurant also features a premium bar, biodynamic and organic wine selection and craft beers.

⁣One of the things we really appreciated about traveling during this time is the abundance of outdoor dining available on the island. The weather is perfect and you can’t beat the view! ⁣

Mother Daughter Catalina Island Getaway

What to do on Catalina Island

From snorkeling and parasailing to ziplining, there is so much to do on Catalina Island. Be sure to check out my post (as part of this guide) on the best things to do on Catalina Island.

Are you ready to book your next vacation to Catalina Island? Be sure to visit and to plan your island getaway!

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