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Simple, Spooky Halloween Snacks

Simple, Spooky Halloween Snacks 0

Here are some fun and festive food ideas to get you in the spirit of Halloween.  Whether you’re hosting a Halloween party or just celebrating with your family, these simple spooky snacks are sure to be a treat!

 

Bell Pepper Jack O’Lanterns

Hollow out some orange bell peppers, and then carve their faces as you would with a pumpkin.  Fill in the carved out parts with pieces of black olives, cut to fit.  Fill them with Ranch Dressing, dips, and snacks.  Serve them with chips and veggies.

 

Spider Canapes

Spray or spread some cheese or other dip or topping on round crackers.  Top each one with a whole black olive and olive slices (for legs).

 

Chipotle Cream Cheese Spread

Top cream cheese with chipotle jelly and serve with crackers.  Also, serve a cheese ball with crackers.

 

 

 

Cute and Creative Themed Baby Gift Baskets

Cute and Creative Themed Baby Gift Baskets 0

Are you looking for creative baby shower gift ideas?  Themed gift baskets, bundles, boxes or sets make the perfect gift for babies and moms- and dads-to-be.  Pick a theme based on something cute and fun, maybe something the baby's parents are in to, and create a bundle from there!  

Start with a cute basket. box, bin, container, or hamper, that coordinates with your theme, and fill it with fun and useful baby items like clothing, toys, teethers, books, accessories, decorative items, night lights, blankets, bibs, burp cloths, pacifiers, and more.

You can also include essential items (great for filler for larger bins), such as diapers, wipes, toiletries, swaddle blankets, etc.

Here are three themed baby gift basket ideas based on three of Kabana Kids' Beachy Baby Bodysuits -- Pineapple, Surfer, and Mermaid.

Pineapple Themed Baby Gift Basket 

For our Sweet Pineapple themed gift basket, we used a small pink and white bin and filled it with cute pineapple products.  You can also use this large pineapple print storage bin (pictured in the back) if you have lots of items to fill it with (this would be a good one for including large packages of diapers).  Pineapple themed items include Kabana Kids' Sweet Pineapple Beachy Baby Bodysuit, a pink bow that matches the onesie, a coordinating pineapple plush toy, (the cutest ever) pink sparkly pineapple embellished sandals, a yellow pineapple teether, pineapple print sun hat, pineapple swaddle blanket, and a pineapple baby wipes holder.You can get our Sweet Pineapple Beachy Baby Bodysuit here!  Our little matching Sweet Pineapple plush will be available soon.  Other items can be found on Amazon.

 

Surfer Themed Baby Gift Basket

This one is perfect for surfer families with a little surf baby on the way!  We started with Kabana Kids' Surf Baby bodysuit (get it here) and found some cute surf-related items that coordinate with it.  For the basket, we used a great storage bin with waves on it (at Target).  We filled it with our surf baby onesie, a blue waves blanket (coming soon), light-up surfers bath toy (Target), toy ring (Target), nautical teethers, little toy crabs, and "Surfer Baby on Board" car sign (all on Amazon).

Mermaid Themed Baby Gift Basket

For a mermaid themed baby gift basket, we found this adorable mermaid storage bin (on Amazon) and filled it with goodies that coordinate with Kabana Kids' Mermaid Vibes bodysuit (get it here).  Items included a crocheted mermaid tail, mermaid themed head bands, mermaid pacifier holder, mermaid doll, and "Three Little Mermaids" book (all on Amazon).

 

 

Potty Training Tips, Tricks and Tools

Potty Training Tips, Tricks and Tools 0

Ready, Set, Potty!  

Potty training is something all parents engage in with their children at some point.  It’s a major milestone for your child, and one that takes a little practice.  It’s one of those experiences that take a child from baby to big kid.  It’s something to celebrate!

There are several approaches to potty training, and all parents will do what works best for them and their child.  We have compiled some lists of helpful tips when it comes to potty training. 

Here are a few tips, tricks, tools and tidbits to help your little one through the potty training process.

Potty Training Readiness Signs:

  • Showing an interest in pottying in the toilet
  • Showing signs of wanting to be more independent in general
  • Ability follow directions
  • Not liking the feeling of a dirty diaper
  • Asking you to change his or her diaper when it’s soiled
  • Having an awareness of needing to go potty
  • Talking about going potty, or telling you that he or she is going or has gone potty
  • Having long periods of time when his/her diaper is dry/clean (especially when waking up in the morning or after a nap)
  • Expressing an interest in wearing big kid underwear

Potty Training Success Tips:

  • Make it fun, interesting
  • Read your child’s signs/cues
  • Introduce
  • No pressure
  • Keep it casual
  • Talk about it
  • Make it fun
  • Celebrate successes
  • Be prepared, patient, positive and persistent

Potty Training Products

Here are some fun products that can help with the potty training process.

  

Potty Chair – there are tons to choose from, including the little stand-alone models and the kind that are placed on the toilet.  Some make sounds or play music.  Some flush.  Some feature fun characters.  There are even some that include an iPad holder.

  

Pull-up diapers –part diaper, part underwear, they allow your child to easily pull them down when they need to go the toilet and pull them back up when they’re finished, like real underwear.  And, if they miss the opportunity, the diaper part takes over.

Big kid underwear – take your child shopping and let him/her choose them.  My daughter enjoyed picking out several packs with her favorite characters, then putting them in her drawer after I washed them.  She wanted to start wearing them immediately, which was great potty training incentive.

Potty training sticker chart – there are several you can buy, download or emulate online.  We made our own and hung it in the bathroom.  We bought fun stickers, and let our daughter put them on the chart every time she went potty in the potty chair or toilet.   

    

Books and DVD’s – our favorites included Everyone Poops, by Gomi Taro, Where’s the Poop?, by Julie Markes, Potty, by Leslie Patricelli, A Potty for Me!, by Karen Katz, and  Elmo’s Potty Time DVD.

    

Toys – The Little Mommy Princess and The Potty Doll, which comes with a flushing toilet (“now you see the potty, now you don’t!”), a little sipping cup and hand sanitizer.  Our daughter loved having the doll “go potty” and then flushing the toilet to see the potty disappear. 

Waterproof mattress cover – this is a must in order to protect the mattress.

When it comes to potty training, you provide the incentive, opportunity, and expectations, and your child will do it when he or she is ready.  Like the famous book says, everyone poops (and pees) ... in the toilet eventually.

It will eventually click.  Meanwhile, have fun, and enjoy the learning process. 

Family Travel Destination: Catalina Island

Family Travel Destination: Catalina Island 0

Catalina Island is a fun travel destination for families with kids of any age.  Whether you visit overnight, for a weekend, a few days, or a week, you’ll find plenty to do.

Just 22 miles off the California coast, Catalina Island is 22 miles long and up to 8 miles wide.  It takes about an hour to get there by boat (or 15 minutes by air).  Boats leave year-round out of ports in Long Beach, Dana Point, Newport Beach, and San Pedro.  For my family, the boat ride to and from the island was a fun and memorable part of the trip. 

Once you get to the island, you’ll instantly notice how cute and quaint it is.  It’s pretty small with hills off in the distance, a charming little town with lots of shops and restaurants, little strips of beach, a pier, and the most spectacular views from everywhere.

The main town on Catalina Island is Avalon (there’s also the unincorporated community village of Two Harbors).  Avalon’s main street is Crescent Avenue, where you can walk around, shop, eat, visit the beach, and enjoy stunning views.

 

While you’re there, you may want to try some of these family-friendly activities: taking a boat or submarine ride, renting a golf cart to explore the island, relaxing and playing at the beach, shopping, visiting a museum, playing miniature golf, and more.  Here are a few recommendations:

Sea Adventures
You can choose from a variety of sea-going activities, which you can book and access from the centrally located pier, the Green Pleasure Pier.  We loved the submarine ride, Undersea Expedition, where we got to go under water and look at lots of fish through the windows.  See http://catalinatours.com/tour/undersea-expedition/

 

 

Other boat adventures include the popular glass-bottom boat, Ocean Runner dolphin watching tour, nighttime Flying Fish Tour, Sundown Isthmus Cruise, and if you really want a true ocean submersion experience, the Sea Trek Walking Tours and “Snuba” – not something I’m willing to try.  You can also go snorkeling, scuba diving, kayaking, or paddle boarding.

 

Land Adventures

One of the most favorite things my family did when we there was rent a golf cart to drive all over the island.  You can follow the map the rental company gives you to go on a self-guided scenic tour.  It takes you way up in the hills where you can stop and take in the most beautiful views.  You can also venture off and explore more of the island, such as through residential streets and other hillside areas.  Visit http://www.catalinaislandgolfcart.com/.

Other options for exploring by land include walking, hiking, or renting bicycles, as well as taking tours by Jeep, Hummer, or bus.  Visit https://www.catalinatours.com/.

Beaches

Catalina has a few cute little beaches, including Descanso Beach (mentioned below).  The main beach is Crescent Beach, which is right next to the Green Pleasure Pier, from where many of the sea excursions depart.  There are no big waves at these beaches, so swimming, playing or floating in the water is ideal.  It also makes it really nice for young kids.  Our daughter enjoyed collecting shells, rocks, and sea glass there.

 

Descanso Beach Club

Descanso Beach Club is a beautiful and fun cove beach with stunning views.  You can lie out in the sand and play in the water there.  They sell all kinds of whimsical rafts and tubes in the gift shop.  You can also rent a cabana or chaise lounge chairs.  

 

It’s a lot of fun to have lunch at the outdoor restaurant, where the food is delicious, and the setting and views are amazing.  My daughter enjoyed her first mocktail there, a Virgin Strawberry, Mango, Coconut Daiquiri.  See http://www.visitcatalinaisland.com/activities-adventures/descanso-beach-club

 

Catalina Island Museum

If you’re interested in learning about Catalina’s history, visit the Catalina Island Museum, which is in a gorgeous new building (the New ADA Blanche Wrigley Schreiner Building).  The museum includes over 18,000 square feet of exhibit space and features artifacts from and about the island.  Museum staff engage kids by giving them a treasure hunt/fact-finding task to earn a prize at the end.  The museum is located at 217 Metropole Avenue, and is open daily from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.  See http://www.catalinamuseum.org/

 

More Catalina Island Adventures

Other fun activities to consider, if you’re interested, include rock wall climbing, zip-lining, miniature golfing (at Golf Gardens), and touring the iconic Catalina Casino, which also has a movie theater that shows a first-run movie each night.  

Shopping

Catalina has tons of cute little shops, most of which are on Crescent Ave. and adjoining side streets.  Your kids will be happy to know that there is a great toy shop, at 233 Sumner Ave., right off Crescent Avenue (near the intersection of Sumner and Beacon St.).  Island Toy Store Plus More is a darling little shop with all kinds of toys and goodies (and a small section of goodies for pets).  There are also several souvenir and gift shops, clothing stores, a general store, and other shops and boutiques.

Great Food

There’s lots of great food on Catalina Island!  Here are just a few suggestions (all on Crescent Ave.):

Luau Larry’s – a casual, tropical bar and restaurant, it serves burgers, sandwiches, sea food, salads, appetizers and specialty cocktails.  See http://www.luaularrys.com/

Blue Water Grill – on the water with gorgeous views and great food, including all kinds of fresh seafood.  See http://www.bluewatergrill.com/locations/catalina-island

 

Antonio’s Pizzeria and Cabaret – waterfront with excellent Italian food.  See http://www.catalinahotspots.com/original_antonios/

Sweet Treats

If you have kids, you will most likely visit Lloyd’s of Avalon Confectionery, which has delicious and beautiful candies of all kinds, including their renowned saltwater taffy, caramel apples, fudge, chocolates, and ice cream.  It’s located at 315 Crescent Ave.

See http://catalinacandy.com/

Other places to get sweet treats: Scoops Homemade Ice Cream (505 Crescent Ave.) and Avalon Bake Shop (122 Catalina Ave.).

Getting to Catalina Island

We took the Catalina Express out of Long Beach.  It was an enjoyable, comfortable, smooth, hour-long ride.  http://www.catalinaexpress.com/

Lodging

There are lots of hotels in Avalon, and most are within walking distance of everything.  I would recommend staying at an ocean-front hotel (on Crescent Ave.), steps from the beach and everything else.  Here are a few:

Hotel Mac Rae

www.hotelmacrae.com

Pavilion Hotel

www.visitcatalinaisland.com

Portofino Hotel

www.portofinohotel.net

Hotel Vista Del Mar

http://www.hotel-vistadelmar.com/

The Edgewater

http://www.theedgewater-hotel.com/

Another option that looked interesting was the Catalina Cottages (via the Hermosa Hotel), which are located right next to the new Catalina Island Museum (131 Metropole Ave.).  These are affordable, studio apartment style rooms, some with kitchens.  See http://hermosahotel.com/

For more information on planning your family trip to Catalina Island, see http://www.visitcatalinaisland.com/ or http://www.catalinachamber.com/.

Fun Fourth of July Foods

Fun Fourth of July Foods 0

Add some spark to your 4th of July celebration this year with some fun, festive, patriotic foods!  There are lots of ways to add July Fourth flair to all of your Independence Day meals.  Think American flags, stars, stripes, red, white and blue, fireworks, sparklers, and so on.  I'm sure you can come up with lots of great ideas.  We'd like to share some of our tried and true 4th of July food ideas, from smoothies to breakfast to simple snacks and drinks.  Enjoy, and have a fun and festive Fourth of July!

Red, White, and Blue Smoothie

Start the morning off, or cool down in the afternoon with a delicious, healthy and colorful Fourth of July Smoothie.  It's very easy to make, and ingredients and amounts will vary depending on your tastes and how many smoothies you plan to make.  Here's the basic recipe:
Blend the following separately, and then layer them in a glass (red, white, and blue), and garnish with strawberry and blueberry skewers:
  • Red: crushed ice, strawberries, a little bit of milk or coconut milk
  • White: crushed ice, bananas, milk/coconut milk
  • Blue: crushed ice, blueberries, milk/coconut milk

4th of July Breakfast

Kids will love this red, white, and blue breakfast that's super easy to make. Using a star-shaped cookie cutter, you can add a 4th of July touch to lots of different foods - toast, French toast, pancakes, cookies, etc.  Here, we made waffle stars, which we served with red, white, and blue fruit (strawberries, bananas, and blueberries). 

Star-Shaped Waffles

Star-shaped waffles are served with some maple syrup and red, white, and blue fruit.  You could also add some powdered sugar or whipped cream.

Red, White, and Blue Fruit Platter

To make a 4th of July fruit platter, simply, create rows of sliced strawberries, sliced bananas, and blueberries. You could also add raspberries, watermelon, and a little whipped cream.

Star-Shaped Mini Sandwiches for 4th of July

As a simple snack or lunch item that kids will love, cut out star-shaped mini sandwiches.  Here are some with peanut butter and jelly and some with turkey.  

Festive 4th of July Appetizers

Star-Shaped Quesadillas 

Red, White, and Blue Bell Pepper Nachos

Here are some 4th of July Bell Pepper Nachos (above, topped with star quesadillas).
If you like red bell peppers, you will love these!  They are really easy to make, too.  Set your oven to 350.  In a small glass baking dish, pour some red taco sauce.  Add a layer of "chip sized" red bell peppers, a layer of black beans, and a layer of grated Monterey Jack Cheese.  Repeat these three layers.  Cook at 350, uncovered, for about 30 minutes.  

More 4th of July Appetizers

Here is a table display with some fun, festive 4th of July snacks, including chips and salsa in a flag serving tray, blueberries and star-shaped watermelon, red, white and blue strawberries (strawberries dipped in melted white chocolate and then in blue sugar), a festive drink (see below), and American Flag seven-layer dip (in more detail below).

American Flag Seven-Layer Dip

You can make this dip as you would with any other seven-layer dip (such as, spread a layer of refried beans on the bottom, then a layer of each: salsa, guacamole, grated cheese, and sour cream).  With the American Flag dip, top it with "stars and stripes" -- rows of diced red bell peppers and grated Monterey Jack cheese, and a corner that consists of some sour cream covered with black beans, and some chopped white onions for stars.

4th of July Cocktails and Mocktails

These drinks are as tasty as they are pretty.  The two in the back are the adult version and the one in the front is kid-friendly.  
Adult 4th of July Cocktails: over ice, Blue Curacao, vodka, and top with 7-up or club soda.  Garnish with red fruit (watermelon, raspberry, cherry)
4th of July Mocktails: over ice, blue Gatorade, 7-up or club soda.  Garnish with fruit.
Have a happy, healthy, fun and festive 4th of July!
Adorable Onesies for Adorable Babies

Adorable Onesies for Adorable Babies 0

Kabana Kids’ collection of Beachy Baby Bodysuits features cute, original designs silkscreened on soft, 100% cotton one-pieces.  Our first Summer 2018 Collection includes Sweet Pineapple, Surf Baby, Stars and Stripes, Beach Baby Waves, and Mermaid Vibes.  More are in the works.   

 

Our onesie designs are playful, whimsical, fun, cute, beachy, kind of cartoony, colorful, and happy.  They come in sizes 0-3 months, 3-6 months, 6-12 months, and 12-18 months.  We will soon be adding designs in toddler and big kid t-shirts as well.  Several of our designs are gender neutral.


 We will also be adding a fun, beachy holiday collection of onesies and t-shirts. 

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