Coaster Holiday Express, Ride the Train with Santa 2016

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Families can take a ride on a magical holiday train with Santa, Mrs. Claus and friends on Saturday, December 10. North County Transit District’s Coaster Holiday Express is a specially decorated train ride that features photo opportunities with Santa and classic carol singing for children of all ages. Each 65-minute Holiday COASTER Express ride travels non-stop and roundtrip from Oceanside to Solana Beach. The ride is recommended for families with children between the ages of 3 and 10. Be sure to bring your camera for tons of photo opportunities throughout the train ride.

orion and santa

Last year we had so much fun taking our son on the Coaster Holiday Express, see picture above. It is only $10 per person this year with departure times of 10 a.m. and 12 p.m. from the Oceanside transit center. Please note tickets are NOT available day of and it will SELL OUT AND FAST! Tickets may be purchased on Thursday, November 3rd in person at a transit center or online here.

Saturday, December 10

Trains departing from Oceanside Transit Center at 10am, 12pm & 2pm

Visit with Santa Claus, his merry elves and the beautiful ice queen & snow princess while singing along with carolers

On-sale date: Thursday, November 3

Tickets: $10 per person (limit 10/person)

Purchase tickets online (link available at 8am on 11/3/16) or at the Oceanside Transit Center (205 S. Tremont St, Oceanside), open Monday-Friday 8am-5pm

To purchase tickets after November 3 (up to 10 may be purchased at a time) please click here.

IMPORTANT NOTES FOR THE HOLIDAY EXPRESS

* Passengers must present a ticket to board the COASTER Holiday Express

* Every person must have a ticket (including children of all ages)

* The Holiday Express is recommended for families with children between the ages of 3 & 10

* Do not bring food, beverages, strollers, or bicycles on board the train.  Water & small snacks okay.

* Total trip time is approximately 65 minutes

* The trains depart ON TIME.  As this event is usually sold out, we will not be able to accommodate late arrivals.  Plan to arrive at least 20 minutes before your departure to find parking.

* The Holiday Express will operate rain or shine.

 

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Safe Trick or Treating Halloween 2016

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Halloween is today, Happy Halloween! Do you have a tradition? Do you love trick or treating in your neighborhood? I love the idea of trick or treating at a shopping center or mall because it feels safer. 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. 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. We always end our night watching Charlie Brown as our family tradition. Have a very save Halloween!

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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 Premium Outlets Halloween Trick-or-Treating – From 3 p.m. to 6 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.

The Shoppes at Carlsbad – Halloween Trick-or-Treating at the Shoppes at Carlsbad (formerly Carlsbad Mall) trick or treating begins at 2 P.M. next to the elevator on level one. Some retailers will be participating (while supplies last).  Look for a Pumpkin in their window, also have a list available at the candy table.

CORONADO – From 3:30-5:30 pm on Halloween, local merchants on Orange Avenue provide a great night for the little ones by passing out candy and other gifts!

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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 bank 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.

Flower Hill Promenade (Del Mar) Stop by for a Halloween bash that caters to children of all ages as well as their doting parents, Flower Hill Promenade will host its annual Trick-or-Treating event. Kids dressed as princesses, pirates, witches, superheroes and any other Halloween character you can imagine can run from store to store filling their baskets with treats and candies galore, parents can meander through Del Mar’s premier open-air shopping, dining and entertainment center collecting goodies of their own. Meanwhile, parents: feel free to drop into your favorite shops to treat yourselves. Pink Soul boutique will be gifting “Mommy Treat Bags” while kids overflow their Halloween bags.

Grossmont Center on October 31st come in your best Halloween costume and trick-or-treat through over one million square feet of stores, restaurants and eateries. Bring your family to a safe place to trick-or-treat this October for a Halloween to remember. The event will be held from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Encinitas safe trick or treat

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.

 

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Healthy Halloween and DIY Treats

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Halloween is almost here and we love to make fun treats and healthy options as well. Below are some of the ones we highlighted on our Fox news segment earlier today.

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Mummy Juice Boxes – Items Needed to Make:

  • Regular juice boxes
  • Toilet paper
  • Tape
  • Black Marker

Rrip toilet paper into long strips, wrap around juice boxes, use tape as needed. Use black marker to draw on the eyes.

Tangerine Jack-O-Lanterns – Items Needed to Make:

  • Tangerines
  • Black Marker
  • Fun Halloween Tray

Use  black marker to draw different faces on the tangerines similar to a Jack-O-Lantern

 

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Candy-Corn Fruit Cups – Items Needed to Make:

  • Pineapple cut into pieces
  • Tangerines (or oranges cut smaller)
  • Whip Cream
  • Mason Jar (or other clear container)
  • Candy-Corn

Cut pineapple, peal tangerines and pull apart into pieces. Place pineapple at the bottom, tangerines next, fill the rest with whip cream and top with a candy-corn or two.

String-Cheese Ghosts – Items Needed to Make:

  • String Cheese
  • Black Marker

Simply draw eyes and a mouth on the string cheese and you are finished!

Frankenstein Rice Crispy Treats – Items Needed to Make:

  • Rice Crisp Cereal
  • Marshmallows
  • Green Food Coloring
  • Black Frosting
  • Thin Pretzels

Make rice crispy treats as normal (see side of the cereal box in most cases) Add green dye and stir in until you get the color you desire. Let sit to firm for about an hour. Cut into rectangles, use black frosting to draw on hair, eyes, eyebrows, nose and mouth. Break pretzels in half and stick to side near the mouth.

halloween treats

Oreo Eyeballs – Items Needed to Make:

  • Oreo Cookies
  • Sticks
  • White chocolate chips
  • Red Frosting
  • Blue Frosting
  • Black Frosting
  • Wax Paper

Twist oreos apart and put stick into the frosting in the middle, it is best to let this set for a while (20 minutes) before attempting to dip in melted chocolate as it may slip off. Melt white chocolate chips (we use microwave in 30 second increments) dip oreos into the melted chocolate. Make sure you cover the entire cookie, set aside to harden (can be put in freezer to speed it up) After chocolate has hardened and is firm to the touch use the blue frosting and make a big circle in the middle of the cookie, then take the black frosting and put a dot on the blue circle. Next use the red frosting to draw the veins on the eyes.

Pretzel Broomsticks – Items Needed to Make:

  • Pretzel sticks
  • Plastic bags
  • Halloween Ribbon
  • Halloween Pencils

Put the pretzels into the plastic bags and insert pencil into the middle of the bag, use the ribbon to tie it closed.

Pumpkin Rice Crispy Treats – Items Needed to Make:

  • Rice Crisp Cereal
  • Marshmallows
  • Orange Food Coloring
  • Green Frosting
  • Mini Rolos
  • Wax Paper

Make rice crispy treats as usual (recipe can be found on the back of the cereal box) add orange food coloring to desired color. Wet your hands and shape into pumpkins. Add mini rolo for the stem, and use the green frosting to add leaves.

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Switch Witch as seen on Fox 5

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We were so excited to share all about the Switch Witch and the magic of Switchcraft! Switch Witch is something we love because it gives children the option of doing something else with their Halloween candy rather than just eating it. The day after Halloween the kids know they still have a ton of candy left over and of course will ask for some of it. Instead of giving them the candy you can ‘switch’ the candy out for a great book or a toy they really want. My son has ADHD and adding excess sugar is horrible for him, which is why Switch Witch hit home for me.

It is also really important for children with food allergies, and celiac who can’t eat most of the Halloween candy given out. They partner with the Teal Pumpkin Project, which allows parents of children with food allergies to know where it is safe for their children to trick-or-treat. When parents see a ‘Teal Pumpkin’ they know it is safe, also new this year there is a map so parents can go house by house which houses are safe for their kids. They partner with Operation Shoebox where candy donations are sent to soldiers worldwide. Beginning November 1-10, kids can donate their Halloween candy at various candy drop off locations throughout the US.

The idea of Switch Witch came when award winning author Audrey Kinsman’s son was trick-or-treating. She saw his disappointment knowing he wouldn’t be able to eat most of the candy he was brining home due to a food allergy. That is where the idea of ‘Switchcrafting’ came about! Now kids across the country can be apart of switching candy for any reason. Switch Witch is available on their website for a small price and on Amazon.

switch witch

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That time of year when everything turns pink

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It is that time of year again when everything turns pink for Breast Cancer Awareness month, and it stabs a knife right into my heart. I was going about my normal life and on October 2nd like most American’s on a Sunday was watching the NFL. Then there it was staring right at me, what can really only be described as a pink vomit explosion on every player, referee, coach and supporting staff as far as the eye can see. I used to think it was really ‘cute’ when the big players wore pink, but that was about as far as that went, I wasn’t thinking about Breast Cancer. They don’t have an area in the stadium of women who have battled or are battling breast cancer that they show on TV. They don’t have the players mothers, wives, sisters, friends, and daughters tell their story of their battle of breast cancer, They just turn shit pink. How does this  help women who have or are battling breast cancer?

Although it is rare, men too suffer from breast cancer, I have a family member who is towards the end of his treatment soon. What does the NFL turning everything pink do for him? Is his breast cancer any less than my own mother who passed away last year from breast cancer because he is male? Breast Cancer Awareness month is a farce, who among us hasn’t been affected by breast cancer? I had my own breast cancer scare only 4 months after my mom passed away from breast cancer. All of us know someone who has had, or is in treatment for breast cancer, so raising awareness for something we are all aware of is idiotic.

I understand raising money for finding a cure but the ‘race for the cure’ only donates 21% of the billions of dollars raised to actually finding a cure, maybe they should change their name? My mother walked ‘for a cure’ multiple times to raise money to find a cure, unfortunately it didn’t happen before the disease took her life.

October has hit me hard this year, I cried pretty much every single day for a week so far. Unless I stay inside my house and don’t turn on the TV I don’t see an end in sight. Somedays I don’t remember my mom is gone and I think I should call my mom she will know the answer to this or that. Sometimes I want to call her to tell her something funny my son has done, sometimes I just want to hear her voice. To hear her call me honey once more, one more hug, one more anything. I am so jealous of my friends who have the relationship with their mothers that I once had. I don’t want to be the dead mothers club, it is the worse club to be apart of and no one really understands it unless they are too.

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Howl-O-Ween Helen Woodward Animal Center

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Howl-O-Ween Harvest Family Day OCTOBER 30th 9 a.m. to 1p.m.

Howl-O-Ween Harvest Family day includes animal interactions, face painting, crafts, access to the Mansion of Mystery, and pumpkin picking.

NEW this year: trick or treat stations, a magical maze, plus costume and pumpkin decorating contests. The people with the cutest animal-themed pumpkin and/or animal-themed costume will win 10% off of Thanksgiving or Winter Critter Camp! REGISTER NOW!

When: October 30th 9am-1pm
Cost: $13/child, $5/adult

Family Day Schedule
9:00-9:20- Snake
9:20-9:40- Sheep in Costume
9:40-10:00- Madagascar Hissing Cockroach
10:00-10:20 Alpaca in Costume
10:20-10:40-Snake
10:40-11:00- Sheep in Costume
11:00-11:20: Madagascar Hissing Cockroach
11:20-12:00 Alpaca in Costume
12:00-12:30- Dog in Costume
12:30-1:00 Costume & pumpkin contests

*“Mansion of Mystery” Excursions Leaving every 20 minutes beginning at 9:00am*

Howl-O-Ween Harvest

Howl-O-Ween Harvest is the perfect program for your fall field trip! The lessons can be customized to compliment California Common Core & Next Generation Science Standards for K-4th while providing a unique opportunity to meet some of our “spookier” animals. Also, for the first time in Howl-O-Ween Harvest history, they can bring this program to your classroom! Call at (858) 756 4117 x318 or e-mail education@animalcenter.org to book your adventure!

With hands-on animal interactions, a mini pumpkin patch, and team-building activities in our Mansion of Mystery, this program is also great for play groups and scouts! You can wear your costume or just enjoy our animals in theirs but either way it’s sure to be a howlin’ good time.

Howl-O- Ween Harvest Information:

Ages: Toddlers, preschools, K-5th
When: Time slots available from October 1st-31st
Cost: $13/child ($75 minimum onsite, $150 minimum offsite)
*Parent chaperones are admitted free for the purpose of supervising children. The chaperone to child ratio is 1:5. Extra chaperones are $5 each.
To Book Your Adventure: Contact at (858) 756-4117 x 318 or education@animalcenter.org


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