another day in LA….a day on the farm…

It was pretty boring around here last week.  Lenny was out of town for business so I was home alone for FIVE WHOLE DAYS with two small children.  Needless to say, there were not a lot of fun outings.  Leo went to school every morning and we had friends over to play a few times in the afternoon but we were pretty much confined to his playroom from 1pm until bedtime.

Though his playroom is pretty awesome (more on that later), I think he was starting to go a little stir crazy.  I think even I was starting to go a little stir crazy.  Since my parents were in town this weekend (I had some back-up), I decided to attempt apple picking.  Apple picking in one of those fun Fall activities that you see your friends back East doing in Facebook photos, it looks lovely on the internet but the reality was something entirely different for us.

We made the almost 90 mile drive to Oak Glen, CA to pick apples at Riley’s Los Rios Rancho. The kids were surprisingly good in the car.  Leo was excited and Lucy only screamed her head off for the last 10 miles or so.   Riley’s is a lovely place, with gorgeous views of the mountains and valleys and acres upon acres of apple orchards… and not a cloud in the sky. By the time we arrived in Oak Glen, it was nearly 90 degrees.

We took a quick “hike” up a pathway to one of the many apple orchards and picked red delicious apples.  It was pretty obvious that a few thousand other tourist had been apple picking here before us. As, you can see from the below photo of grandpa trying to hoist Leo up to about 8 feet to grab an apple.  There were a ton of different orchards with many different varieties of apples but due to the extreme heat and Leo’s general lack of interest in farm work we only made it to one.


After about 10 minutes, Leo was like “what next?”  Determined to spend more time at Riley’s than we did driving there, we checked out the petting zoo and the wagon ride.  Leo was into the wagon ride as it was pulled by massive horses… our driver gave us some interesting history on the ranch and fun facts about apple trees along the way. You can’t tell from the below photo but poor Lucy was wailing and came home with a little heat rash (mother of the year).


We wanted to grab some BBQ lunch at the farm (aka gift shop) but the line was insanely long.  They did have a stand that sold roasted sweet corn on the cob, so we grabbed one for Leo before heading out along with some fresh pressed apple cider that was pretty delicious.  Overall, I don’t think I would make another trip out to Riley’s until the weather was cooler and the kids were a little older.

Leo checking out some vintage farm equipment…


Excuse me, now I have to go make apple sauce with the 4 pounds of apple that Leo “picked” because he has decided that he only eats apples in sauce form.

Leo’s shirt by prefresh

Leo’s pants by tucker + tate 


another day in LA, the annenberg commmunity beach house…


The idea of a public beach house is so California and pretty awesome.  We spent the day yesterday at the Annenberg Community Beach House in Santa Monica and it did not disappoint. The property was formerly the beach front estate of actress Marion Davies, then a private beach club and now it’s a public “beach house” operated by the city of Santa Monica.  You can make reservations on-line for parking, the pool and even beach cabanas (which are just pop up tents but they provide great shade).

Even though we live in LA we barely go to the beach. It’s such a hassle to drive there, pack a lunch and cooler, bring swim diapers and clothes and regular clothes and then when you get there you have to find parking… you get it.  But the Annenberg Beach House made it really easy for us. Great facilities, clean bathrooms, lots of room for kids to run around, a yummy beach cafe… yeah, I had to shlep towels and 4 changes of clothes for Leo but it was worth it.

IMG_0077When we arrived it was a little chilly- only 73 degrees!  Poor Leo’s teeth were chattering, he’s such a California boy. But it started to warm up pretty quickly and the boys took a dip the the gorgeous pool with an art deco marble mosiac surround. Then Leo hit the splash park which could have been a good hour of entertainment if his lips weren’t turning blue from the cold (though the water was surprisingly warm).


Next we headed down to the beach for some sand castle building…


Followed by a yummy lunch from the beach cafe…


And finally, a walk down to the water.  It was a great day for the whole family.  And well worth the 66 bucks we paid for parking, pool passes and the cabana rental.  Leo was so tuckered out after his beach day that he took a three hour nap! And I was so tuckered out that I joined him.


It was a great way to spend the day…

garbage trucks!!!

We had a great weekend.  It was HOT in LA. So much for June gloom… The highlight of the weekend for Leo was definitely the Los Angeles Bureau of Sanitation Open House.  Yes, it has come this… we are spending our weekends hanging out at the dump.  Well not really, it was actually pretty cool. If you have a little boy, you probably understand that the allure of the trash truck can be contagious at times.  On trash day Leo likes to stand at the window waiting for one to arrive then scream “YEAH!!!” as they lift the bins. Saturday was his heaven.



They had all sorts of recycling trucks out for the kids to check out.  Leo even got to sit in a few of them.  They even let him honk the horn. You have no idea how sad he was to get out.



In this photo I am pretty sure that Leo thinks he is actually driving the truck, he was not happy with my requests to smile for a photo while he was hard at work. They had free food, free fruit trees, a DJ, and educational booths to teach kids about things like compost and recycling.  Leo even “won” a little trash can.




Leo and his buddy are in hog heaven. I was sweating and ready to go home… but we continued the sweat fest when we got home with some gardening projects.  We planted our new avocado tree!!! Thanks LA Department of Sanitation!  And threw in some tomato plants for good measure.  I will post photos if either one every fruits…









another day in LA, kidspace museum…

We had a rough night in our house.  Leo wanted to party from 2AM to about 6AM. Since Leo’s version of a late night party entails humming the first few chords of “This Old Man” repeatedly for hours while bouncing and rolling around in our bed and then finally passing out, bottle in hand, as the sun comes up- Mom and Dad had to partake in the party too. I was exhausted this morning but determined to do something fun with Leo, so we headed out to the Kidspace Museum in Pasadena, just the two of us.


I love the idea of Kidspace, there are tons of areas for kids to learn about everything from music to science interactively. It’s probably best for kids a few years older than Leo but we still managed to have a fun time.

Kidspace is $10 for admission for everyone, so Leo and I set out on our mission to have $20 worth of fun right away. First we played in the early learning center, which is essentially and indoor playground for children 4 and under.  But unlike some other indoor playgrounds we frequent, this one is filled with beautifully designed wooden furniture and play structures and well-organized toys arranged on shelves Montessori style. Also, there were two people there with rubber gloves vigilantly cleaning the toys, if you’re into that kind of thing. We tried to check out Physics Forest and the Digging Deeper Gallery but there were quite a few field trips with older kids to plow us over.  Also, let’s be real for a second, we should probably master using a fork before introducing concepts like gravitational acceleration and environmental erosion.

IMG_1824Following snack time in the courtyard, we hit the outdoor play area for little ones that has a tiny tricycle course (Leo fell off immediately) and some other stuff for kids to play with including water! Leo’s favorite!

IMG_1829Next we hit outdoor water symphony, where kids can aim mechanical squirt guns at drums to create music and also wet clothing.  I tried to get Leo to move on from this before he was totally soaked but he was having so much fun and he’s getting pretty hard to catch these days… There were all sorts of fun things up the hill from the water symphony that we missed because it was getting close to lunch/naptime and I knew that there was no way that I was going to get Leo past the ground fountains on the way out….


Water fountains just never get old. I really wish I had thought to bring a towel or even an extra set of clothes.


Leo didn’t seem to mind…

Overall, a fun morning but Kidspace will be way more fun when he’s older.

(written during naptime)






another day in LA, kids club at the americana at brand


Full disclosure, Leo and I stumbled upon this fun activity while planning to meet a friend for coffee on Tuesday. We had no idea there would be such a party going on at the Americana! Apparently, every Tuesday from 11am to 1pm they have something called Kids Club, rain or shine, with a FREE activity for kids. This Tuesday they had a fun two piece band and hundreds of drums and drumsticks for the kids to play along. Leo got really into it. Then he pitched his drum into the lake and we had to run away in shame.

That was just fine by me because in addition to the fun activity there are so all kind of food specials at the Americana! We went to the Jewel City Diner where kids eat free (one free kid’s meal with the purchase of an adult meal) but there are deals at 10 different eateries. I had a veggie burger and Leo had a hotdog that was the size of his arm which splattered grease all over me when I cut it. Fun!

Kiehl’s even has free sunscreen applications for your kiddos to keep them protected while they are rocking out on the lawn (I would love to see how that would go with Leo).

We’ll be hitting this up again whenever we are free on Tuesday mornings.

another day in LA, saturday at LACMA…

After Leo’s long afternoon nap (almost three hours!), we decided to check out LACMA.  They have something called a NEXGEN membership for kids under 18, so Leo gets a free membership until he is 18 and mom or dad gets a free ticket to accompany him.  Pretty awesome.  There are tons of great areas for toddlers to run around at LACMA.  Leo had the most fun at the “spaghetti” installation. He ran into the spaghetti, out of the spaghetti, he pulled on the spaghetti, it whacked him in the face a little- so much fun!

IMG_1637Next we went to the Broad gallery to check out Metropolis II, which is a mind-blowing kinetic sculpture with matchbox cars and trains racing around tracks high and low.  There is something new to look at from every angle.


I must say that the security ropes that they had at this gallery were pretty much begging for toddlers to jump them. Exhibit A, Leo in the Broad.

IMG_1651Leo also had a great time running around the Urban Light exhibit in front of LACMA, at least twenty minutes of fun


Then of course we had snack time, or SNACKMA, as we called it today.


Overall, we had a great time but it was uber-crowed, we’ll probably go back on a weekday soon and do some more exploring.

another day in LA, travel town museum

IMG_1594Today we met up with our playgroup at Travel Town in Griffith Park.  Though I can’t say that we learned anything about trains, Leo had a pretty amazing time.  There were several things that impressed me about Travel Town. First, it’s free to get in (you only have to pay for the train ride which is $2.50 per ride- and it goes around twice!). Secondly, the amount of space for toddlers to run around both indoor and out is pretty great. I have to say that having a place for your kid to run freely where you don’t have to worry about cars, bikes, kids on scooters, etc. is pretty great.

The only thing that kind of ticked me off was in the Children’s area of the indoor section they have a little train table to play on with no toy trains and a sign that says “trains are available in our gift shop.” That felt a bit obnoxious to me, thank god Leo can’t read.

There are all sorts of big old looking trains on display.  Leo particularly loved being able to run in between all of the big trains in the “train station” area of the park.

IMG_1592Then we had to leave because Leo found a puddle to jump and subsequently fall in, we drove home in our diaper and went right to sleep after a quick lunch (more on that later).

(written during naptime)