California Adventure: San Diego

I was born in San Diego (die-hard Charger and Padres girl right here), so I made it a priority to visit while we were in California.

We managed to get two visits in. On our first visit we took a train down to San Diego. 

We had fun visiting the World Famous San Diego Zoo and SeaWorld San Diego.

Our second visit was a stop in one of our cruises and I set up a sailing excursion along the bay. It was a beautiful day to see the city and very relaxing.

However, fours hours on a sail boat is a bit resticrive for a one-year old. Fortunately, we found an amazing playground really close to our ship. Mini-man had a blast swinging, running around, and getting wet. 

San Diego is such a beautiful place. I am so glad that I got to share it with my family.

California Adventures: Glendale

One I’m the things I hate most about California is driving – the freeways are crazy and filled with reckless, speeding drivers. Add a baby into the car and I become a mess behind the wheel. So when Damon got transferred, I was adamant that our new place be close to activities for us to enjoy without a lot of driving.

Where we ended up met a lot of those requirements – downtown Glendale!

Why? We are within walking distance to a variety of stores and restaurants – including: the Americana, Glendale Galleria, Goodwill, Chipotle, Burger King, and much more. I am going to miss being so close to a variety of  restautants (sushi, italian, Mexicans…). At home, most restaurants are chain restaurants that don’t offer a lot of variety. 

Walking distance to fun playgrounds for mini-man to enjoy.

We are also within close distance to stores and play areas to enjoy as a family.

As much as I am thrilled to be going home, I will miss Glendale.

California Adventure: The Beach

One of the first weekend we were here we took mini-man to the beach. A big change from Orlando, where the nearest beach is 90 minutes away and has tons of public access, the closest beach to uabwas several hours away. Then when we finally arrived, there was very little public parking and access to the beach was limited – very rocky terrain.

But being the adventurous people we are, we went down the path and ended up in a rocky area of the beach. After walking for over an hour we finally found a spot where we could sit – but you can imagine how tired we all were. We cooled off in the ocean – mini-man loved his feet in the water – but were more than ready to head home.

At this point mini-man was crying and I didn’t have the energy to go back the way we came. Unfortunately, each access point back to the car was private. Damon and I agreed to split at this point – he want back the way we came and I headed for the nearest public access point with mini-man.

Thank goodness we met some nice people who let mini-man and me use their private access. I got to the shade and called Damon immediately. As soon as he showed up, mini-man passed out.

Needless to say this adventurous trip was a bit much for all of us. We soon discovered that our pool was just steps away from our front door and a  much easier place to take mini-man for some water fun. 

California Adventures: The Rose Parade

The Rose Parade is a California staple. For as long as I can remember, my family and I have gotten up on New Years Day, made breakfast and hunkered down to watch the Rose Parade. When we moved to the East Coast, we made sure to watch the California broadcasts with Bob and Stephanie (the east coast people cut out too much of the parade, have too many interviews, and just overall don’t know what they are talking about). So you can imagine how excited I was to learn that we were moving to Glendale – a short drive to Pasadena: Home of the Rose Parade.

Since we have mini-man, I went ahead and got stadium seating so we wouldn’t have to get up early and wait for the parade in the cold. Totally worth it – we arrived in plenty of time to park and find our seats. However, there were a few things I didn’t realize:

  • Long wait: we had to arrive early before they closed the gates. But that’s usually before the parade itself starts. And we were 90 minutes from the start of the parade – which meant we wait for a long time.
  • Unusual pre-show: People know that you are waiting there. So they march in the street yelling all sorts of things. I think I was told I’d be going to be damned numerous times by a variety of groups. Definitely something you don’t see on TV.
  • It’s quiet: you watch the parade on tv and you hear music and commentary. In person, you don’t hear commentary and barely hear the music.

All-in-all, I was very disappointed seeing the parade. I’m glad I got to experience the parade but next year, I’m staying home where it’s warm and I can see the parade better. 

Big News!

So we have some big news – we are moving back to Orlando! I am so excited to get home. While I have enjoyed our adventures in Glendale, I definitely feel home sick and ready to leave. As we countdown our final days here I’ll be sharing some of our most fun adventures we’ve had here. 26 days and counting!

Backyard Adventures: The LA Zoo

Ready for a wild adventures at the LA Z00

With mini-man getting bigger and more independent, I’ve been trying to find some fun, yet cost effective, activities for us to do together. One activity that we both enjoy is visiting the LA Zoo.

Located in Griffith Park, and just minutes from our apartment, the LA Zoo is an ideal place to take mini-man for some new adventures.


I bought an annual pass for $79 – which gets me and one guest into the zoo. Since mini-man is free (under 2 can visit free) this pass is ideal for our little family.  Just use it four time and then pass pays for itself.


Another benefit of an annual pass – we can come and go as we please. If we arrive and it’s too crowded, too hot, mini-man isn’t in the mood, or any reason, we can just leave. This happened one, hot day when mini-man kept wanting to get into the water. Instead of making him stay, we went home and jumped in the pool. Both parties are happy – i didn’t have to drag a cranky toddler around the zoo and he got to do what he wanted.


Right now, mini-man loves to explore the zoo. So each time we visit, I take him in a different direction to see new animals. The only issue we have at the moment is he wants to touch all of the animals. Thankfully he is easily distracted.


So if your looking for a cost effective activity for your family in LA, I highly recommend the LA Zoo.

Stay-at-Home-Mom: Savings


I think we can all relate – raising kids can get pricey. The clothes they grow out of in two seconds, the toys that cost $$$ and are played with for a few months, you know the drill. Added to the fact that we are on a budget tends to make things interesting. I grew up pretty poor and learned quickly how to spot a good deal and to invest money wisely. However, my husband has taught me even more than I imagined. 

I showed him toys/clothes for mini-man that I think are a good price and he takes me to places where there even better! What places are these? Thrift stores. Places like this didn’t really exist for me as a kid – I’m not sure why. They are a great place to find awesome treasures at an amazing price. Yes they can take some time to dig and your not guaranteed to find what you are looking for but with an open mind and some digging, you can unearth some amazing items. And bonus – it’s the ultimate in recycling! An old toy gets a new life, you save money, and the old owner gets some cash – everybody wins!

 Here are some things that I have found from Goodwill, local thrift stores, and Craigslist:


  • Clothes

 Mini-man was born at 10 pounds (naturally!). I loved my big guy but all of the clothes we had for him were too small (NB clothes fit upto 10 pounds). My first thought was to go to Walmart and get a few things. However, Damon suggested trying our local Goodwill first. OMG was I surprised – the store had a wall full of baby clothes and for $1.50! I couldn’t believe it – we left with a bag full of clothes for less than the cost of one outfit at a local retailer. I was hooked. 


  • Toys 

Children’s toy are pricey, require a lot of batteries, and maintain interested for a few minutes. Looking at the toy aisle, I couldn’t help but wonder where all these toys ended up once kids were done playing with them. Turns out that most of them end up at garage sales and local thrift stores. We found a couple of amazing stores near us in Glendale that have huge toy sections. I have found name brand electronic toys (I.e. V-tech and Leap Frog) for $3 or less! Mini-mans airplane rocker – $3.50! (Going for $100 on Amazon). And our latest find – the car above for $10! 


  • Books

Mini-man loves books. I started his collections with some books I found on Amazon. However, I have expanded the collection immensely from thrift stores. These books, which retail for $5-$20 are sold for $1 at thrift stores! I do take comfort in the fact that the books I bought at full retail I have never found at thrift stores, but I have found similar books that mini-man loves. The books are usually all mixed together and requires some digging, but it’s well worth the savings. 


  • Furniture

I think this is where I am the most thrilled with my thrift store findings. Furniture can be pricey but kids grow of them so fast that a lot of it ends up on Craiglist or Goodwill. We recently went back to Florida for a week and found a Step2 pic-nic table and sand table for $50! Mini-man loved the sand table so much that we found the same table in L.A. for $20. The blue chair was in the trash near our apartment – we rescued it, repaired it and now mini-man has an awesome chair for $10. 

With a little imagination, determination, and patience, it is incredible how much you can save and still have fun with your kids!

Five fast tips for thrift stores:

  • Go Often – Thrift stores get stuff in everyday. The more you go, the more chances you have to get something you are looking for.
  • Dig, Dig, Dig – Thrift stores are notoriously unorganized. Spend a few minutes digging and you can unearth some treasures.
  • Not everything is a Deal – Be sure to check online for retail prices before you buy. I have seen things at thrift stores that are more expensive than retail.
  • Color of the Week – Most thrift stores color code their price tags. Each week they will put a color on sale. If you buy something with that color price tag and you can get a discount. I found mini-mans airplane rocker for $7 but it was a color of the week, so I got 50% off!
  • Don’t be Afarid – I am somewhere who isn’t comfortable in crowds or in unfamiliar places. However, it is worth giving thrift stores a try for the savings. 

Welcome Aboard! – Sailing with Princess Cruises


Love … exciting an new. Hope aboard – we’re expecting you. The Love Boat! Oh man! After years of LOVING the Love Boat – owning the episodes, watching the movies, reading the books – I was finally taking my own run aboard Princess Cruise Lines.

Right now, mini-man is not a fan of being in his car seat, which means getting creative when we embark on adventures. We walk everywhere that is close, we have taken a train to San Diego, we’ve flown several places and we’ve even sailed. After doing some research,. cruising seemed to offer the best way for us to take mini-man to a lot of places without having to subject him to the dreaded car seat.

Damon and I have been cruising for years. However, now that we have mini-man, we realized we couldn’t just lounge all day on the boat and have crazy adventures in each port. After some research and utilizing lessons learned from previous trips, were felt prepared to embark on the Love Boat.

We chose this particular cruise  because it offered the chance to explore a lot of California, including: San Francisco, Santa Barbara, San Diego, and Ensenada. We had some highs, some lows, and made a lot of great memories.



Our Latest Adventure!


Hello Everyone!

We are currently exploring the coast of California aboard the Crown Princess. We will tell you all about it when we get back in a few days. If you want to see our latest adventures be sure to follow us on Twitter – @sharonmoore05 , and instagram – @sharonnoore05.