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My Favorite So Cal Places Blog HOP FREEBIES and GIVEAWAY

Hello Friends!

Thank you for hopping on over! My So Cal bloggy friends and I are sharing some of our favorite things that we love to do here Southern California. Plus, we have an awesome giveaway and AMAZING winter FREEBIES for you all along the way... because well,  EVERYONE loves FREE!!!   :) Seriously. After the holidays, I am trying to get myself on a spending freeze ...oh, look Target dollar bin. :/

I love living in So Cal!  I can get to the beach or mountains within an hour. It really is amazing. Even though we do not have seasons (I wish our trees would turn beautiful colors), I really would have a hard time moving away from here.

Here are some of my favorite things to do in So Cal...

1. Theme parks like Knott's Berry Farm or Disneyland/Downtown Disney

Obviously, I could not live in So Cal and NOT talk about our theme parks, especially Disneyland! I love Disneyland but to be completely honest, we stopped getting our annual passes about 5 years ago because it really is so pricey. It IS amazing, but as of now, it's just not in our budget for a family of 5. I miss the parades, the rides, the FUN...but I DO NOT miss the crowds.

Right now, our family has passes to Knott's Berry Farm and it is working out really well for us. My kids are 10, 8, and 5 and they LOVE Knott's! The 2 older boys can ride the bigger faster rides and there's Camp Snoopy for small riders like my kindergartener. I love that I can get to BOTH these theme parks in less than an hour.

2. Victoria Gardens

I don't know if many non So Cal friends know about this little gem. Victoria Gardens is an outdoor mall with TONS of shops and delicious restaurants (Cheesecake Factory, P.F. Changs, Lucille's BBQ, etc). In the winter, they have horse drawn carriages and in the summer, they do movies on the lawn. It really is beautiful!

3. Snow tubing

I know for those who get snow, this is not a big deal or may not be as fun....BUT for this So Cal girl, I love that I can GO to the snow (not live in it). Again, I can get here in less than an hour and go tubing with my family. We did that this December and my kids had a blast!

4. Raging Waters

Can you say Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure? I think that movie put the city of San Dimas on the map. Raging Waters is a FUN water park located in this city and claims to be California's Largest Water Park! There are kiddie pools as well as huge drop out tubes for the older and braver ones. It's crowded with kids (and adults) trying to get relief from the summer heat.

5.  The BEACH!!!

Of course, the beach is one of my favorite places to go. Our family used to go to Newport Beach but now we go to a smaller beach called Seal Beach. That has quickly become my family's favorite beach! We pay $6 and park right on the beach. Literally. I can step out of my car, step over a little wall, and my feet are in soft sand! My kids love body surfing here and catching sand crabs. There are also cute little shops along the way.

Before you go, I wanted to share a little Winter FREEBIE with you! My Winter Themed ABC FREEBIE is a fun way to have your students practice this skill. It is perfect for group work or in a literacy center. Enjoy!

This FREEBIE is part of my Winter Themed ABC packet. This resource covers ABC order to the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd letter. You can check it out here.

So if you ever plan on visiting So Cal, you'll have a list of MANY fun things to do here. Hop on over to my friend Mona at First Grade School House to hear about her favorites!

First Grade Schoolhouse

Also, don't forget to enter our Rafflecopter Giveaway for that Amazon gift card!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


DNA in a YUMMY way

Hello Friends!

We've been learning about DNA and wow... talk about learning along with your kiddos! As I was explaining the structure of DNA and its functions, I began drawing it.. or trying to draw it. I thought I did a pretty good job until my neuroscience friend came over one day and asked me why my DNA had "those things" on it. What??!!! I drew it completely wrong.. and worse, I taught it wrong to my kids. Sheesh!  Well after a quick lesson from my dear friend, I was able to correct my drawing and teach my kids the RIGHT DNA. lol.

Since my candy animal cell was such a hit with my kids, I decided to make a candy model of  DNA. And since I'm such a visual learner,  this project was just as much for me as it was for my little ones.

Here are the materials I used:

Sour punch - sugar phosphate backbone
Nerds - nucleotides
Mike and Ikes- base pairs (AT, GC)
Frosting - to "glue" the nucleotides to the sugar phosphate backbone

I cut the Mike and Ikes in half so that they could represent each base pair.

I had each of kids pick a 2 different colors that would represent a base pair (A and T). Then they stuck them together. The inside of Mike and Ikes are a bit sticky so they stuck well. Then they took another 2 colors and stuck them together. That represented the other base pair (G and C).

Note:  A can only be paired with T and G can only be paired with C. They can go in any order (G,C or C,G) but they MUST be paired together. They are like a puzzle piece that will only fit for those pairs.

They began building their DNA with the sour strips, making them twist to create the double helix.  We used frosting as "glue" to stick the nerds on. It was a bit messy, I must admit. The easiest way I found to make the nerds stick was to put the frosting on the strips and then roll them into the nerds.

Our finished product. Wow.. this makes my teeth hurt.

Then, for the moment my kids have been waiting for (drum roll please)...

I turned away in disgust as I practically began making a check out to their dentist....




And just like that. The storm has passed. 

The good thing? My kids and I both know the structure of  DNA (even my littlest little in kinder).

The bad thing? Well, I let you know at their next dental cleaning.

Have a great day friends!



Happy New Year Friends!

I know that some of you are back at work so I wanted to share a little Winter FREEBIE with you to help you ease back into the classroom this year while your coffee kicks in today. Easing back in for you doesn't mean that your students just color and do packets, either. Here is a FREEBIE that will help with reinforcing a skill while your kiddos have fun. They can work in groups, use it in a center, or use it however works best to fit your needs.

I've included 3 different levels for alphabetizing: ABC to 1st, 2nd, and 3rd letter.  Students alphabetize the cards with the same picture and then write them on the recording sheet with the matching picture. This 18 page FREEBIE includes 6 sets of words for each level plus 3 different recording sheets!

Hope you enjoy this FREEEBIE. If so, I would love for you to take just a couple of seconds to leave some feedback.

Thanks and have a wonderful 2016!!