No Bake Halloween Treats – mini pumpkins

By Nicole Hughes

Fun and easy Halloween treats to make with kids!  Last night my 8-year-old and I made these adorable mini pumpkins for Halloween.   The pumpkins are very simple and a blast to make.  This was our first time making these and they didn’t turn out too bad considering my 8-year-old did most of them!

Halloween finish

Ingredients needed:

  • 1 box Rice Crispy Cereal
  • 1 bag of marshmallows
  • 1 bag of tootsie rolls
  • Orange food coloring (we used Color Garden because it is 100% plant-based)
  • Black sparkle gel
  • Green decorating icing

Halloween treats 1

To make:

  • In a microwave safe bowl add 40 marshmallows, melt for 1 min, then 30 seconds until it is melted
  • Add orange dye to melted marshmallows

halloween marshmellows

  • 4 cups of rice crispy cereal, add more if needed
  • Roll into balls, about the size of a tennis ball
  • Set on a cookie sheet and allow the little pumpkins to set (20 min)

Halloween pumpkins

  • Use black sparkle gel to draw on eyes and mouth
  • Use green decorating icing to add leaves
  • Roll out tootsie rolls to use as stump and add-on top

halloween pumpkinsThe mini pumpkins have been a HUGE hit!  I gave them to the his teacher, school nurse, the wonderful women who help at the office in his school and everyone on our street. I just got back from lunch with my brother and just walking through the restaurant everyone was telling me how cute they were.  I hope your friends and family love them too, Happy Halloween!


A different type of fairy tale

By Nicole Hughes

******SoCal Savvy Mom is happy to introduce Robyn Lass to our wonderful readers.  Robyn is an amazingly talented writer and we are so happy she has decided to share her different type of fairy tale story with us. Robyn is a 30-something incredibly beautiful woman inside and out, she is smart, sassy and sarcastic.  While I may be a bit biased because she is one of my best friends I know you will love her and her story as much as I  do!  ~ Nicole

Meet Robyn Lass


Once upon a time there was a beautiful young princess (and I do mean beautiful, like Daryl Hannah in “Splash” beautiful). This princess wasn’t just pretty on the outside, she was smart and ambitious and kind. Let’s face it, everyone loved her. She was optimistic and full of hope, believing that some day she would follow her dream to become a famous writer and travel the world.

One day (ok it was night but we’re not strict on specifics) she met a handsome and charming prince. He captured the princess’s attention and soon she was so captivated by his tall tales of wild adventures and antics that she was swept off her feet. He made the princess laugh and  convinced her that he believed she was the most wonderful woman in the world.

While the princess did her best to hold on to her dream for the future, and she continued on a solid career path that gave her opportunities as a writer, she soon found herself making choices that allowed her to stay with her prince—pushing her dreams of fame and travel to the back burner.

The two shared many of the same hobbies and she believed they loved each other’s company. But somewhere deep down the princess always knew something was missing. Year after year she kept that secret locked away, hidden from herself and from anyone else—especially the prince. She gradually convinced herself that the prince was her destiny.

For many years the princess and her prince seemed happy, at least the princess thought so. After they were married she was hopeful he would grow and change as she did. But that didn’t happen. And though they decided to start a family and move into a castle (well more like a 1,000 square-foot starter home but who’s counting?) where they could start building their own kingdom, the more their responsibilities increased, the more agitated and distant the prince became. He started to spend less and less time in his castle and the princess was left to fend for herself and their one young son.

Eventually the prince told the princess he couldn’t live in this kingdom anymore. The princess was shocked to say the least. She thought they were in love and had just hit a “rough patch” in their wedded bliss. But the prince saw it differently. He wanted a new kingdom so he did his best to convince the princess believe there was something wrong with her and he didn’t love her anymore because she was unlovable. And the more the princess tried to find answers and solutions, the colder and harsher the prince became. Soon the princess discovered the prince had fallen in love with another, we’ll call her the evil wicked witch. Actually, let’s call her the ugly evil wicked witch. Finally, the fairy tale was over.

The princess was heartbroken, but she would not be defeated. Thanks to the love and support of her friends and family (plus a really good therapist) she was able to find magic in the truth—that she was better off. Once she honestly believed it from head to heart, she was free to become the best princess she could be, able to uncover a whole new type of strength that allowed her to find happiness for herself and her son. Soon she was laughing again and putting her life back on that long abandoned track to write and travel. Oh, and the grace with which she handled (and still handles) all the drama that comes with dividing a kingdom and co-parenting with the villains would make any fairy godmother proud.

The happy ending? Well the princess is still working on that but every day she wakes up knowing that she’s on the right path, and that all of her supporters who had told her back in her darkest days that “things will get better” were absolutely right. Things are better…without that prince.

Glasses buy one get one free at

By Nicole Hughes

The other day I was at my son’s school and did not have on my glasses or contacts.  I saw a woman who looked like my neighbor  and tried to squint to see if it was her but just assumed it wasn’t.  Her children went to a different school last year so it did not make sense she would be at his school.  A few days later I ran right into her at the school and asked what are you doing here?  She said I saw you the other day and you gave me a weird look.  I felt horrible!  I wasn’t more than 30 feet from her and did not say a thing!  Note to self never leave house without an extra pair of glasses!  I now leave a pair of glasses inside my purse and another inside my car just incase.  nic glasses

Above and below are the cute new glasses I got at an AMAZING price through an online optical site.  Buying glasses without trying them on sounded a bit scary, however there are so many tools on the site to help match the perfect pair to you!  They have a ‘try on view’ feature that helps to see what different pairs of glasses would look like.  Another reason I enjoyed shopping on this site is the glasses are affordable with glasses ranging from as low as $10 to $60.  Currently there is a special for buy one pair of glasses get another pair FREE!  There is no coupon code required for the buy one get one free, the less expensive glasses are automatically take off the bill. This special runs until the end of the month, to check out the glasses and the special click here.

nic glasses 2

Safe Trick or Treating in San Diego

By Nicole Hughes

Halloween is just next week, do you have a tradition?  Do you trick or treat only in your neighborhood?  I love the idea of trick or treating at a shopping center or mall because there are not cars everywhere.  I am always worried about children on Halloween and being struck by a car, this almost happened to us last year!  The driver of the car got an ear full from myself and the other parents with us.  So this year we will be trick or treating at one of the events listed below.  Of course my child and probably yours too LOVES Halloween because of the candy, which is another reason I love this, I know who the candy is coming from.  Happy Halloween!


Carmel Mountain Plaza Halloween Trick or Treat – Children 12 and under dressed in costumes are invited to trick-or-treat at participating stores from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.  Parents can enjoy live music with the 80’z All-Stars, or kids can enjoy balloon art, and more!  Register near Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf or Reading Cinemas and receive a Free treat bag, while supplies last.

Carlsbad Forum Celebrate Halloween – Trick or treating for children 12 and younger in costume from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m.  Dress up your pups and enjoy the doggie treat and water station outside of Anthropology, for more information click here.

Carlsbad Premium Outlets Halloween Trick-or-Treating – From 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. costumed children escorted by their parents are invited to trick-or-treat at Carlsbad Premium Outlets on Halloween. Participating merchants will distribute wrapped candy and treats adding to the fun, for more information click here.

Westfield Carlsbad Trick or Treat & Scare Away Hunger – At participating retailers from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. scare away hunger by donating a non-perishable food item at JC Penny to benefit the Salvation Army.  Receive a free gift with donation (while supplies last) Children 12 years and younger are invited to hunt for treats, no masks or toy weapons, for more information click here.


Carlsbad Village Halloween in the Village – Stop by the FUN ZONE at 3:30 p.m. to pick up your merchant trick or treat map, check out the jump house and have your face painted.  At 3:45 p.m. the kids costume contest will begin, from 6:30 p.m. to 0 p.m. the hounted house will be open.  At 7:30 p.m. there is a costume contest for adults.

Chula Vista Village Walk Trick or Treat – Village Walk merchants will provide free treats for children ages 12 and under dressed in costume and accompanied by an adult.  Two registration areas, one by HSBC bak and one near the children’s sandbox area next to T.J. Maxx, from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. for more information click here.

Encinitas Safe Trick or Treat  – Along a stretch of South Coast Hwy 101, from Encinitas Blvd. to K street, will transform into Pumpkin lane from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.  It will be decorated with elaborately carved pumpkins at different viewing locations.  Downtown businesses generously participate and join in the fun.  Don’t miss the kids zone where children can enjoy games, music and activities at The Lumberyard Courtyard. Downtown merchants hand out candy in a tranquil, safe setting where tricksters of all ages have loads of fun.  For more information click here.

Encinitas safe trick or treat

Westfield Escondido Halloween Spooktacular – You’re invited to the Westfield Spooktacular at Westfield North County.  Bring the kiddos by for some family Trick-or-Treat Halloween fun. Select retailers will be passing out treats from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Halloween night, for more information click here.

Westfield UTC Mall-O-Ween – Stop in for some fun trick or treating with participating retailers at UTC. From 3 p.m. to 7p.m., select retailers will be participating with in-store “carnival” festivities and bounce back deals available for you to use through the weekend.  From 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., more mall retailers will be joining on the festivities, distributing candy for trick-or-treating and Plaza Unplugged performer, Ryan Brolliar, will be joining us in Palm Plaza for musical entertainment!  For more information click here.

Westfield Horton Plaza presents HortonHalloween – Horton Plaza is hosting a fun night for kids on Halloween.  From 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. join in for tricks, treats, & awesome beats!  There will be a costume contest, Spooktacular Savings, Giveaways & More!  Jamba Juice will have FREE smoothies for kids from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. for more information click here.

trick treat


Brick-or-Treat at Legoland California

By Nicole Hughes

Brick-or-Treat is a family tradition in our house, Legoland AND trick-or-treating?  We are so there!  Every Saturday in October plus Friday the 24th Legoland hosts its annual Brick-or-Treat party nights.  There are costume contests, dancing, live entertainment, treats, dancing, rides, giant Lego® Halloween models and  the night comes to an end with fireworks.

Legoland halloween
Hop, skip, or jump down the the Brick-or-Treat Trail with fun surprises and snacks along the way including a collector LEGO Brick and LEGO toys. (Peanut and tree nut allergen warning)  The West side of the Park closes at 5 pm, entry to Brick-or-Treat Party Nights begins at 4 pm.  For more details, please click here.

Please note additional fees do apply.

  • If you are a Merlin Annual Member (as we are) there is no additional fee to enter Brick-or-Treat party nights.
  • If you are a standard annual pass member it is $15 per person, same price for adults and children.
  • Non members will pay $40 per person at the walk up window day of.
  • Friday, October 24th tickets may be purchased online for only $30, click here to purchase.

We hope your family will enjoy Legoland Brick-or-Treat party nights as much as ours!


This weekend at Bates Nut Farm #PumpkinPatch

By Nicole Hughes

Start your fall mornings at Bates Nut Farm this weekend with the Lion’s Club Pancake Breakfast from 7-10 a.m. each day.  Enjoy all-you-can-eat pancakes, eggs, bacon, sausage, coffee and orange juice for just $6.00 for adults and $5.00 for kids. Proceeds benefit local charities.

Saturday October 18th is the 9th annual Costume Contest!  You and your family have worked hard on your Halloween costumes…here’s your opportunity to show them off! While you’re at it, document your efforts with some photos in the Pumpkin Patch at Bates Nut Farm. Participants in the Bates Costume Contest will get a certificate of participation, Halloween treats and a tractor hayride ticket. Not wearing a costume? Come anyway to enjoy the costume parade and cheer for your favorite costumes. Prizes will be awarded in four age categories, so everybody has a chance to win. Registration begins at 9:00, and costume parade and judging begin at 11:00.  Click here for the Entry Form.


On Saturday and Sunday will be mobile foods truck specializing in American comfort food. The menu changes weekly but they always have a special burger, outrageous hot dogs and kicked-up corn dogs. Each week will feature a few regional specials like New England Lobster Rolls, Brooklyn Burger or Seattle Salmon Burgers. They also have Whoopie Pies that are flown from a small town in Maine. There’s always a great selection of unique and retro sodas and chips to match the menus. The ingredients are all fresh, never frozen and hormone free.  There will also be live music and variety-dance music from Calico Ridge on the Bates Stage from 12-3 on Saturday and Bayou Brothers on Sunday.


Don’t forget to visit the PUMPKIN PATCH:  Over 50 years of fall traditions and memories have been created at the Bates Nut Farm Pumpkin Patch. Family and friends enjoy the tractor hayrides, straw maze, petting corral and pony rides.  Grab a wheelbarrow and pick from variety of pumpkins: Big Macs, Ghost, Cinderella, Jack O’ Lantern, minis, squash, gourds and other fall décor.  In addition, weekends at Bates include live entertainment from 12:00 -3:00, BBQ, kettle corn, food trucks, rock climb, bounce, slide and other family friendly events.  Admission and parking are free, for more information click here.

Join a MobTribe and work out with your friends!

By Nicole Hughes

The newest and hottest workout is fitmob which offers challenging and FUN workouts in your neighborhood!  The awesome workouts range from strength training, dance/yoga, and cardio, there really is something for everyone with this workout.  Because every workout is different, you are using different muscels with each workout.  My favorite part is working out outside, and during all hours, morning, noon or after work.  There are of course indoor options as well, but I love being outside as much as I possibly can.

Why is fitmob so different?  Instead of going to the gym where you are charged monthly regardless of how many times you workout fitmob is free for members and you never pay for inactivitiy.  I hate missing a workout when I am out of town because I’m always thinking how many classes (how much $$) I’m losing.  With fitmob you only pay for the classes you choose and attend, plus the more you workout the less you pay!  If that isn’t a reason to workout more I don’t know what is.


New to fitmob is MobTribe, and we are beyond excited to share this with you!  I love having a personal trainer but its a luxury that I cannot afford every time I work out.  MobTribe is shared personal training that is actually afforable, it is 2-6 people matched with a top rated certified trainer.  It focuses on personal attention to each Tribe member with nutrition tips, daily tracking your activity, and coaching you for what fits for your body.  To find a location nearest you click here.

We are so excited about working out with fitmob that we want to give you a gift certificate to Athleta for workout clothes!  I love buying new workout clothes, its a secret passion of mine, shhhhh don’t tell my husband.  To enter the giveaway simply leave a comment on this blog post, good luck!




Stop the pink washing #ReThinkThePink

By Nicole Hughes

First diagnoses with breast cancer was in July 2011, stage 1, skip ahead to November 2013, it came back and had a party (lungs, liver, bones) and is now stage 4.  Please help us stop the pink washing, and #ReThinkThePink.

Have you seen the commercials for the 3-day walks, and the pink this and pink that for breast cancer?  It would be hard not to, it is everywhere!  To most people it is an inspiration, wow, look at these women, they beat breast cancer, right?  When I see them I feel angry.  I am angry because NO one dies from breast cancer that remains in the breast.  If you have metastasis breast cancer you will die from it, plain and simple.

Metastasis refers to the spread of cancer to different parts of the body, usually the bones, liver, lungs and brain.   It is estimated that about 155,000 Americans are living with metastatic breast cancer.  Metastatic breast cancer accounts for 40,000 deaths annually in the U.S.  But these things are never talked about in the pink commercials, or on any of their products.

I understand the reason for the walks is to ‘Find a Cure‘ which of course I want, I want a cure more than anything in the world.  But they never talk about a woman when her breast cancer returns.  As if “those” women are no longer part of the pink brigade, they are not going to be cured, they are not going to beat cancer.  Less than 1% of the profits from the 3-day walks and pink products go towards research for metastasis breast cancer….  LESS THAN 1%!  Which is kind of a big F-YOU to the women who have it.  My mother is one of those women, and she did the 3-day walks, more than once.  All of this before she even had breast cancer.  She walked in memory of my aunt who died of metastasis breast cancer.  For many reasons she no longer does the walks, mainly chemotherapy, but also why support an organization that no longer supports you?

While on the topic of ‘The Cure’ most of the money raised by the 3-day walks or pink products goes towards education and salaries.  To be exact $140 million is used to spread awareness and education towards early detection.  Early on when Susan G. Komen started the goal was to raise awareness, guess what?  THEY DID, WE ARE ALL AWARE!  One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer.  Which means if you don’t have breast cancer you know someone who has been affected by it.  We all have a friend, an aunt, sister, college roommate, co-worker, or neighbor who has been affected.  We are all very aware that breast cancer exists and that early detection is key.  Why then does Susan G. Komen spend $140 million towards this one goal that has already been reached?  How is that helping ‘Find A Cure‘ in any way shape or form?

The PINK products are the most despicable thing in the world, how can they say they support breast cancer when the products being sold have carcinogens in them?  A lot of Proctor & Gamble products like Pantene, Cover Girl, Olay and Max factor cosmetics contain carcinogens, yet they all have a pink ribbon supporting breast cancer awareness.  Do they think if they slap a pink ribbon on it we will forget this fact?  Can we all agree breast cancer is a disease not a marketing opportunity for companies like this?  Please join me in the campaign to #ReThinkThePink and do not support companies like Proctor and Gamble.

Please help because so many women are suffering everyday from breast cancer.  Next time you see a pink product don’t buy it, instead give your money straight to the Breast Cancer Fund.  The Breast Cancer Fund is a much better organization that actually spends the donations on research and finding a cure.  If you or someone you know is suffering from breast cancer please know there are many other organizations out there that can help.  You are not alone!  May an actual cure for not just breast cancer but all cancer be found, and please may that day be soon!

re think the pink

Bates Nut Farm Pumpkin Festival 10/4-10/5

By Nicole Hughes

Start your fall mornings at Bates Nut Farm this weekend with the Lion’s Club Pancake Breakfast from 7-10 a.m. each day.     Enjoy all-you-can-eat pancakes, eggs, bacon, sausage, coffee and orange juice for just $6.00 for adults and $5.00 for kids.    Proceeds benefit local charities.

Next be sure to check out the eighty artisans selling handmade crafts and fine art at the “Pumpkin Festival” Arts ‘n Crafts Fair.   Admire and shop for beautiful jewelry, woodworking, candles, toys and many other unique items.  Bates’ famous Pumpkin Patch will also be open with tractor hayrides, straw maze, pony rides, food & live entertainment both days from 12 – 3.  Valley Center High Jazz performs on Saturday and the Boogie Brothers take the stage on Sunday.  Admission and parking are free, for more information click here.


Don’t forget to visit the PUMPKIN PATCH:  Over 50 years of fall traditions and memories have been created at the Bates Nut Farm Pumpkin Patch. Family and friends enjoy the tractor hayrides, straw maze, petting corral and pony rides.  Grab a wheelbarrow and pick from variety of pumpkins: Big Macs, Ghost, Cinderella, Jack O’ Lantern, minis, squash, gourds and other fall décor.  In addition, weekends at Bates include live entertainment from 12:00 -3:00, BBQ, kettle corn, food trucks, rock climb, bounce, slide and other family friendly events.  Admission and parking are free, for more information click here.

New this year at Bates Nut Farm is “FRIDAY NIGHTS AT THE FARM” Extended hours for more fun in the Pumpkin Patch. Open until 8:00 on Friday, October 10 & 17. Bring a flashlight, and don’t forget your camera!  Weekday hours for the pumpkin patch are M-F 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and weekends Sat-Sun 8:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Kids Free in October at San Diego Museums

By Nicole Hughes

The San Diego Museum Council is bringing back by popular demand an amazing program for families.  Based on its huge success in the first three years, Kids Free in October, is back for a fourth year inviting families to enjoy free kids’ admission to more than 30 museums across San Diego County with an adult ticket purchase.

The breakdown:

  • The coupon allows up to TWO CHILDREN 12 and UNDER to get in FREE with one paid adult.
  • The ticket does not apply to special events, special exhibits or field trips.
  • Can not combine with any other promo/discount/coupon/offer.
  • Vaild during the month of October only 10/1/14 – 10/31/14.
  • You must provide the PRINTED the coupon, which may be found below.

To take advantage of the offer, download the free coupon from the website for each museum you wish to visit in October.

Visit the Birch Aquarium in La Jolla and see the living tide pools.  The U.S.S. Midway is a fun floating museum that children love!  One of the most popular in San Diego is the Ruben H. Fleet Science Center in Balboa Park and it too is free for children during the month of October.   For the full list of museums participating in Kids Free in October click here.

Kids are also free to the San Diego Zoo & Safari park during October for more information read our post about it here.



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