Winter Fest 2016: Check Out So Cal’s Ultimate Winter Experience!

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post about Winter Fest 2016 on behalf of Gigasavvy. All opinions are my own.

Here in So Cal, we don’t really get a whole lot of winter. It gets cold (those of you reading anywhere east of us are probably laughing about our idea of “cold”) and occasionally we’ll even have to put on boots or tennis shoes instead of just wearing flip flops. So to say my kids haven’t really ever experienced winter is an understatement. That’s why I’m looking forward to taking them to Winter Fest 2016 at the the OC Fair & Event Center!

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My kids have never even been in real snow. A few years back, it did snow here in our town but it barely even covered the ground and was gone by the end of the day.

At Winter Fest 2016, they blow snow in daily and there will be enough of it for the kids to make their first snow angels, build a snowman, and even try snow tubing! Best of all, it’s included in the price of admission so you don’t have to pay extra for it!

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There’s even an ice skating ring so they can try out ice skating for the first time!

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There is a ton of attractions at Winter Fest 2016, and while the kids are excited about snow, I’ve got lots of other things I want to check out!

One thing we love to do as a family is look at Christmas lights. We bundle up in the car and drive around looking at all the decorations and lights. At the Festival of Lights, we’ll can stroll through a 2 million light illuminated pathway to explore 10 holiday themed lands. I think I’m most excited about this!

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And don’t judge me, but my kids have never been to a Tree Lighting Ceremony before (I actually haven’t either), so I’m really looking forward to seeing one. Every night at 5:30, you can watch the 30 foot tall Christmas tree light up!

And so much more to do: from the Candy Cane Carnival (Carnival tickets are $1. A pack of 16 tickets is $14 and a pack of 36 is $28. All carnival tickets sold onsite. An unlimited ride wristband is available online for $20,) to festive entertainment, seasonal eateries, to visits with Santa and so much more. Check out this video showing all the fun!

Additional Winter Fest 2016 Information

Kids 3 and under are free. parking is on site and $8 Season passes are also available. Get all the ticket info, dates of operation and hours here. Psst! Purchase your tickets online and use the promo code HOLIDAY to save $5!

Winter Fest 2016 Dates: December 16th thru January 1st

Winter Fest Located at: 88 Fair Dr, Costa Mesa, CA 92626

Follow Winter Fest on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to keep up with all of the holiday fun So Cal style!

Sounds like a blast, right? I have a Family 4 pack of tickets for one lucky So Cal reader! Enter below and good luck! 

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5 Healthy Sleep Tips + A Chance To Win An Amazon Gift Card!

Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by the National Sleep Foundation as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central. All opinions expressed in my post are my own.

If you can't fall asleep, toss and turn all night, or can't sleep throughout the night, these 5 healthy sleep tips will ensure a restful night of sleep.

Sigh. Prioritizing sleep. Easier said than done, right? I’m one of those moms who choses to stay up late just to get some alone time to unwind and watch an episode of Real Housewives or catch up on a show that the kids can’t watch. But back in June I started Weight Watchers, one of the things I started doing was going to bed earlier and getting more sleep. I couldn’t believe how much better I felt getting rested sleep!

And then I kinda fell off the wagon, and started staying up later and having a glass of wine after the kids went to bed. I noticed that I’d lay down and not even be able to fall asleep, or that I would wake up for no reason at 3 AM, and wasn’t able to fall back asleep for more than an hour (and usually longer than that.)

If you suffer from insomnia (meaning you can’t fall asleep, or fall asleep but toss and turn) you are not alone. Approximately ten percent of the adult U.S. population experiences symptoms consistent with the diagnosis of insomnia.

I wanted to share some healthy sleep tips I found at the National Sleep Foundation. They provide great resources for people like me who are suffering from sleep issues (i.e. insomnia, narcolepsy, cataplexy and more.) You’ll also find out how to start a conversation with your doctor if you’re having sleep issues and need to determine how to get a better night’s sleep.

These 5 healthy sleep tips have made a huge difference in helping me fall asleep fast and sleep all night long. I feel energized in the morning instead of tired, have more energy throughout the day, and feel rested and relaxed instead of sluggish.

If you can't fall asleep, toss and turn all night, or can't sleep throughout the night, these 5 healthy sleep tips will ensure a restful night of sleep.

5 Healthy Sleep Tips

Exercise – Yep, after I quit walking regularly is when I also started staying up later. I got back into my lazy routine, and exercise stopped being a priority. And since I was staying up late, I also was tired…too tired to exercise. It’s a vicious cycle!

Exercising is so good for your body and mind. It relieves stress and helps keep you healthy. We should strive to get 60 minutes of exercise a day, and I know what you’re thinking…when do I have an hour to exercise? If you make it a priority, you’ll be surprised at how easy it is to find an hour.

If you can't fall asleep, toss and turn all night, or can't sleep throughout the night, these 5 healthy sleep tips will ensure a restful night of sleep.

It doesn’t have to be a straight hour of exercise, you can break it up. Take a quick walk during your lunch break. Instead of driving to pick up the kids from school, walk. Play outside with the kids after school. Talk a family walk. Consider getting a Fitbit and try to get 10,000 steps a day.

The National Sleep Foundation says that vigorous exercise is best, but light exercise is better than no activity. Whatever you do, it counts.

Be Comfy When You Sleep – Is your room too hot? Too cold? Ideal sleeping temperatures are between between 60 and 67 degrees. It should be quiet (I wear Drift To Sleep earplugs to cancel out Jason’s snoring,) but if you’re a person who needs some noise to fall asleep, try a white noise machine or download white noise for sleep music/sounds.

If you can't fall asleep, toss and turn all night, or can't sleep throughout the night, these 5 healthy sleep tips will ensure a restful night of sleep.

Also make sure you have a comfortable mattress and pillows. We both sleep on a  MyPillow and we LOVE them! You can adjust MyPillow to your exact individual needs regardless of sleep position. I recommend these pillows for sure!

Avoid alcohol and heavy meals in the evening – Two of my favorite things that I’d put together at 9 PM after the kids went to sleep! It’s amazing how much better you’ll sleep just by not eating and drinking late into the evening. No large meals for two to three hours before bedtime. Need a snack before bed? Have one of these light snacks 45 minutes before bed.

Avoid Electronics Before Bed – I’m guilty of this one, too. As I watch TV, drink my wine, and eat my junk food, I would also be on my phone on social media. What I didn’t know is that electronic devices can make it hard to fall asleep, because the type of light that emanates from the screens is activating to the brain.

If you can't fall asleep, toss and turn all night, or can't sleep throughout the night, these 5 healthy sleep tips will ensure a restful night of sleep.

You need time to wind down, so do something relaxing like reading or yoga. Yoga For Stress Relief is my favorite DVD. It has yoga programs for both morning and night that are either invigorating or relaxing.

Avoid Naps – Napping always sounds like a great way to catch some extra sleep, but they can actually hurt your ability to sleep at night. No more naps and go to bed at the same time each night – you’ll be surprised how much better you’ll sleep!

You’ll find more healthy sleep tips and other resources for a better night’s sleep at National Sleep Foundation. Be sure to follow the National Sleep Foundation on Facebook and Twitter to get more tips and learn more about the importance of healthy sleep. Beyondtired.org is another great resource. It helps inspire people suffering from insomnia to reach better sleep. Sleep.org also is dedicated to teaching us the benefits of positive sleep health.

Healthy sleep doesn’t have to be hard to get…you just have to know what to do to get it! What healthy sleep tips work for you?

If you can't fall asleep, toss and turn all night, or can't sleep throughout the night, these 5 healthy sleep tips will ensure a restful night of sleep.

Healthy Sleep Tips GIVEAWAY!

Guess what? I have a fantastic giveaway to share with you that’s just in time for the holidays! Enter now through November 23rd for a chance to win one of SIX Amazon Gift Cards! National Sleep Foundation is giving away (5) $100 Amazon e-gift cards and one Grand Prize $250 Amazon e-gift card. Good luck!

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National Sleep Foundation Giveaway

I-C will randomly select winners from all program entries and will facilitate fulfillment of the winning prizes (6 winners).

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Mommy of a Monster and Twins is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com and/or other affiliate sites. If you purchase any items through these links, I will get a few pennies as a thank you and you will still get the same low price! Thanks for supporting Mommy of a Monster.

Make Creamy Sausage & Spinach Pasta with REVERE Cookware ::GIVEAWAY::

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post by me on behalf of REVERE and World Kitchen. The giveaway for REVERE cookware is also hosted. All opinions expressed are my own.

Everybody has a few recipes that the entire family will eat with little to no complaints. These are your go-to recipes; your make-it-once-a-week recipes.

Sharing my recipe for Creamy Sausage & Spinach Pasta made in just 20 minutes with REVERE Cookware! Perfect for busy weeknights and kid approved!

The recipe I’m sharing today is one of those recipes. It’s my Creamy Sausage And Spinach Pasta. It’s ready in about 20 minutes, so it’s perfect as a busy week night dinner. And only ONE ingredient actually needs to be cooked – everything else can be bought at the grocery store already prepared; you just have to cut up some ingredients and open a few jars!

But before I share the recipe, let’s talk about REVERE cookware and how you win a 2-pc Stainless Steel Stainless Steel Medium Frying Pan Starter Set!

REVERE Cookware

REVERE cookware has been around more than 130 years, which tells you they are experts when it comes to long-lasting, reliable cookware that allows you to cook with confidence. Let me share a few of my favorite features of REVERE cookware.

Sharing my recipe for Creamy Sausage & Spinach Pasta made in just 20 minutes with REVERE Cookware! Perfect for busy weeknights and kid approved!

The Copper Confidence Core™ cookware comes with an aluminum encapsulated stainless steel base and a copper disc at the center, which helps heat quicker (up to 50% faster!) and more evenly, which means your meal can cook more quickly than when cooking in heavier gauge cookware. I noticed that the pots and pans heated up really quickly, melted in a snap, and seared meats beautifully.

Sharing my recipe for Creamy Sausage & Spinach Pasta made in just 20 minutes with REVERE Cookware! Perfect for busy weeknights and kid approved!

The Nest & Protect™ feature is awesome! The pans all have interlocking handles that elevate pans (like they’re almost floating) for scratch-free, space saving storage. 

Sharing my recipe for Creamy Sausage & Spinach Pasta made in just 20 minutes with REVERE Cookware! Perfect for busy weeknights and kid approved!

Say goodbye to measuring cups! The Quick Measure Marks are laser-engraved measurement marks included in sauce pans, stock pots and Dutch ovens. It comes in handy when measuring out liquids (like when I make pasta!)

Not only that, the pots and pans have Drip-Free Pouring Rims so transferring liquids or food can be done simply and without making a mess.

Other Features

All pots and pans are compatible with all cooktop surfaces, including induction. They have dual-riveted stainless steel and phenolic Stay Cool Handles that stay cool for maximum comfort and safety. This is huge for me because the girls are learning to cook and I’m always afraid they’ll burn themselves. They’re also oven safe up to 350 degrees (Dutch Oven and Braising Pans up to 500 degrees without a lid.) Everything is dishwasher safe and each piece comes with a Limited Lifetime Warranty.

Classic stainless steel resists discoloration, and does not react with food or alter flavors. So your food tastes like what it’s supposed to taste like, not what was ever in the pan the last time you used it.

The lids that come with the cookware are Tempered Glass Dome Lids, which lock in heat and moisture and make checking cooking status quick and easy. The lids are also interchangeable and compatible between both stainless steel and aluminum; Sauté Pan, Dutch Oven, Stock Pot and 10” Fry Pan can share the same lid!       

I received the 10 Piece Stainless Steel Set (MSRP $229) that comes with an 8 and 10-inch fry pan, 2-quart sauce pan with lid and 3-quart sauce pan with lids, a 6.5-quart stock pot with lid, and a 3-quart sauté pan with lid. You can purchase it at ShopWorldKitchen.com and you can also buy on Amazon.

The first time I used my new REVERE cookware, I made this quick and easy Sausage and Spinach Pasta recipe, loaded with lots of yum!

Sharing my recipe for Creamy Sausage & Spinach Pasta made in just 20 minutes! Perfect for busy weeknights and kid approved!

Creamy Sausage & Spinach Pasta
Save RecipeSave Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1/2 lb pasta of your choice
  • 3 tablespoons of jarred pesto (or make your own!)
  • 1 lb cooked smoked sausage, sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 8 ounces bacon, cooked and chopped (save time and buy the pre-cooked bacon in the deli aisle)
  • 2 cups spinach, chopped
  • 1/4 cup of sundried tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 cups low-fat Alfredo sauce
  • Salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
  • Chopped basil to taste (optional)

Instructions

  1. Prepare the pasta as instructed on the box.
  2. Heat the pesto over medium heat in a nonstick skillet; add the sausage, garlic, and bacon and cook for 10 minutes, stirring often.
  3. Add the spinach to the skillet and cook for 2 minutes, or until wilted. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Add the sundried tomatoes and Alfredo sauce and stir until mixture is coated. Cook until warmed through, about 5 minutes.
  5. Add the cooked pasta and stir until well blended. Sprinkle with fresh basil, if desired.
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http://mommyofamonster.com/revere-cookware/

Sharing my recipe for Creamy Sausage & Spinach Pasta made in just 20 minutes with REVERE Cookware! Perfect for busy weeknights and kid approved!

 Want to cook the pasta even more quickly? Here’s how to make pasta FAST!

REVERE COOKWARE GIVEAWAY

You’ve got a chance to win a  2-pc Stainless Steel Stainless Steel Medium Frying Pan Starter Set valued at $59.99!

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The set includes 8-inch fry pan and a 10-inch fry pan.

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If you want to see more of REVERE cookware products, make sure to check out their website and follow REVERE on Twitter or Facebook for the latest promos and offers. Good luck!

Start Spring Cleaning and Get Organized With Snapware!

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Snapware. All opinions expressed about how to get organized with Snapware are my own.

Do you have messy kids? I’ve got two out of three kids who keep their rooms and belongings pretty clean and organized. Well, one of them is extremely clean and organized while the other is relatively clean and organized. I’m not naming any names, but the third child is not even in the realm of being clean and organized. This is her room:

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Maybe it’s my fault for not making her clean her room every day, but she definitely would have it just as messy within a few hours again even if she did! I decided it was time to get her room organized. There’s no excuse for her keeping her room like this and there’s no reason to just store everything right on the floor.

Get Organized With Snapware

Snapware offers everyday storage and easy organization solutions that you can use in every room of your home. I use Snapware products because they offer a variety of sizes that allow you to store items big and small. The plastic storage containers come with corners that resist splitting and chipping. So no matter how hard the kids are on them, I don’t have to worry about them breaking them.

By using Snapware containers, this mess of baby dolls all fit into one 16″ box! With just the sound of a SNAP she can tell that the lid is secure.

Start your spring cleaning and get organized with Snapware! These durable containers can be used in every room of your home, even the kids' rooms! #snapware #springcleaning #ad

But the best part of getting organized with Snapware is that the containers are not only durable, but functional, too. They snap and stack together, and have easy-to-carry handles. So this mess of Shopkins can be put into a couple of 14″ containers that can then be stacked on top of each other for storage or she can carry them from her room to make a mess in another room!

Start your spring cleaning and get organized with Snapware! These durable containers can be used in every room of your home, even the kids' rooms! #snapware #springcleaning #ad

And because Snapware containers are see through, she can store them all under her bed and still see what’s inside each one so she doesn’t have to pull everything out to find what she’s looking for.

Start your spring cleaning and get organized with Snapware! These durable containers can be used in every room of your home, even the kids' rooms! #snapware #springcleaning #ad

You can find Snapware containers in a variety of sizes. Containers come in 12”, 14” and 16” sizes and each includes an easy-carry handle. If you haven’t checked them out yet, it’s well worth doing. And since it’s spring why not get organized with Snapware?!

If you’re a fan of Snapware or want to learn more about them, find them on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter. They share lots of organizing tips and ideas (and recipes too!)

SNAPWARE GIVEAWAY!

Guess what? Snapware wants me to share the love! You can WIN a set of Snapware storage containers! You’ll receive two 12”, 14” and 16” Snapware storage containers to help you get organized. Simply leave a comment sharing one of your favorite spring cleaning or organization tips. It’s that simple! One lucky winner will be chosen randomly and will be notified on Monday, May 30th. Good luck!

Celebrating the 10th Annual Irvine Park Pumpkin Patch! ::GIVEAWAY::

If you're in So Cal, head to the Irvine Park Pumpkin Patch to celebrate it's 10 anniversary! It's a day full of family fun and so much to do! Get a pumpkin too!

Disclosure: I’m hosting this giveaway because I love Irvine Park Pumpkin Patch and I’m excited to celebrate their 10th Pumpkin Patch anniversary! All opinions expressed are my own.

It’s almost time for the most wonderful time of the year and my favorite holiday…Halloween! And if you’ve been reading Mommy of a Monster for awhile, than you kno how much we love visiting Irvine Park…especially during the holiday season and especially for the Pumpkin Patch.

This year marks the 10th anniversary of their Pumpkin Patch and family Fall fun. And I’m excited to be able to share a fantastic GIVEAWAY for you and your family and a chance to WIN a trip to the Pumpkin Patch!

If you’re located in Southern California, you need to visit Irvine Park to celebrate Irvine Park Railroad’s 10th annual Pumpkin Patch!

If you're in So Cal, head to the Irvine Park Pumpkin Patch to celebrate it's 10 anniversary! It's a day full of family fun and so much to do! Get a pumpkin too!

10TH ANNUAL IRVINE PARK PUMPKIN PATCH 

September 19th through October 31st
Weekdays 10:00 am – 5:00 pm Weekends 10:00 am – 6:00 pm

When you visit the Pumpkin Patch, you’ll be able to purchase tickets for train rides, hay rides, panning for gold, a child-friendly (the kids love it) haunted house, a hay maze, a moon bounce, pumpkin ring toss, carnival games, cookie decorating, John Deere tractor racers, face painting, picture stands, and lots of fun!

Other details about your visit that you’ll want to know…

Admission into the Pumpkin Patch is free, however prices for all other activities vary. Check out Irvine Park Railroad for additional information about costs. Parking fee for Irvine Regional Park is $3.00 per vehicle on weekdays and $5.00 per vehicle on weekends. NOTE: As Halloween nears, visitors should plan to arrive early to help avoid crowds, especially on the weekends.

It’s a fun family day and something the kids and I look forward to every year. And I’m super excited to be able to share the experience with you, thanks to the great people at Irvine Regional Park!

I’m hosting a giveaway and you could win a trip to the Irvine Park Pumpkin Patch!

One very lucky winner will receive:

  • 4 Train Tickets (which can be used to ride the train OR participate in Pumpkin Patch activities)
  • Wheel Fun Rentals at Irvine Park bike rental (excludes the double surrey)
  • 1 Wheel Fun Rentals at Irvine Park paddle boat rental

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Make sure to tag Irvine Park if you head over! You’ll find them on Twitter –@IrvineParkRR, Instagram – @IrvineParkRailroad, and Facebook – Irvine Park Railroad. Good Luck!

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